Cassim Hansa, Group Head: Underwriting and Claims –Continental-Re
I was fortunate to facilitate a recent panel discussion at the virtual OESAI conference which centered on this year’s theme of ‘BUILDING A RESILIENT AFRICAN INSURANCE MARKET’.
A summary of each of the four panelists perspectives in this regard can be found below.
In my view, to secure Resilience one needs to 1) prepare, plan, initiate policy or adaptive strategy, 2) secure and develop the requisite resources and then 3) most importantly implement and execute said policy or strategy to convincingly demonstrate such resilience.
No different to building a resilient insurance career, say. You resilient in that your company values and needs you, and in the unlikely event that perspective should somehow change, you resilient because you can secure gainful (self) employment elsewhere with ease. Resilience is what the shell of a tortoise is all about.
In October 2012, Continental Reinsurance became a signatory to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI). We are genuinely pleased to be a part of this initiative as it demonstrates our commitment to SDG’s, and advocacy and transparency in managing ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance issues throughout our business – whether it be by, managing risk, u/writing and/or investments.
So, as for policy, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) serve as a global framework for the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance risks (and opportunities?) and they also serve as a global initiative to strengthen the insurance industry’s contribution as risk managers, insurers and investors towards building healthy, safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable communities and economies.
THE FOUR PRINCIPLES ARE (THE DETAILS CAN BE FOUND ON THE UN-PSI WEBSITE):
- We embed ESG issues in our business.
- We work together as a sector to manage risk and develop solutions.
- We work together with Govt. Regulators to promote widespread action.
- We demonstrate accountability and transparency in disclosing our progress
[To date rather, regrettably I should add, very few African insurers and reinsurers have formally signed up].
One key component towards developing resources and aligning with this policy was to draft an Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) underwriting guideline.
The first ESG guide for the global insurance industry developed by the UN Environment Programme’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) initiative can be found at: www.unepfi.org/psi/underwriting-ESG-risks.
What to make of this guideline is best perhaps viewed from a perspective of what if we simply ignore it can we be party to:
Environment: contaminating & polluting
Social: driving inequality
Governance: eroding Public Trust
Then too, consider your role in wittingly or unwittingly bringing reputational (ethical) harm to your Company (besides the exposure to Capital and investor ratings?)
And in this regard what too to make of the ‘invisible fist’ of the virally cohesive and ‘stay woke’ conscious Social Media! [with apologies to the invisible hand of Adam Smith].
If we consider all these ESG issues, we recognise most importantly how pertinent, relevant all them are towards building healthy safe and resilient societies. We also recognise how, more especially as leaders in the risk management arena we need to apply our minds to these ESG challenges both from an Industry sector perspective (like Agriculture; Food; Energy; Infrastructure/ Construction; Manufacturing) and then also from an insurance lines of business or class of business perspective such as agribusiness, engineering, liability, property, etc.
When these are all suitably considered we can then ensure a concerted ‘PPP’ action towards adopting the correct mitigation and/or adaptation decisions and measures. And in so doing secure the sustainability and resilience of our industry as well as our finite planet.
Finally, a (non-scientific) gauging and opinion poll was carried out during the webinar, the outcomes of which are self-explanatory.