Asset Pools : Insurance

The insurance business model is built on the principle of mutualisation of risk – making it a particularly effective tool for the management of collective sustainable development challenges. As investors, insurers aim to match liabilities with stable, long-term investment returns. Key policy packages are:
  • Closing the protection gap for effective insurance protection against natural hazards. Tailored mixes of fiscal support, policy directed provision and purchase are needed along with regulatory concessions and market development.
  • Calibrate prudential governance to better reflect long-term economic and environmental realities. Consider whether solvency rules are dampening investment in the long-term assets required for sustainable development. A tradable asset class is needed to enable insurers and other investors to easily access sustainable infrastructure investments. Regulators should explore how to explicitly integrate long-term risk factors such as climate change into prudential reviews.
  • Bridging the sustainability frameworks for underwriting and investment. Sustainability should be incorporated into the implementation of the international Insurance Core Principles. Key to the success would be a leadership group of supervisors at the national level working closely with the IAIS and the Access to Insurance Initiative.

Inquiry Publications

  • The Financial System We Need: From Momentum to Transformation

    Date: 29-Sep-2016

    Download the policy summary: [AR] [CH] [EN] [ES] [FR] [PT] [RU] Download the individual chapters: Chapter 1: Mapping the momentum | Chapter 2: Harnessing financial technology for sustainable development | Chapter 3: Measuring performance | Chapter 4: Steps towards transformation Our follow-up annual report reveals a doubling in policy actions over the past five years to align the global financial system with sustainable

  • Making Waves

    Date: 17-Apr-2018

    The Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System was initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme to advance options to align the financial system with sustainable development. ‘Making Waves: Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development’ is its final, global report. This report reviews the Inquiry’s core analysis, summarizes progress made in aligning

  • A Review of International Financial Standards as They Relate to Sustainable Development

    Date: 22-Feb-2017

    The report, a companion to the second edition of “The Financial System We Need”, examines how the international financial standards currently relate to the goals of sustainable development and explores opportunities for better alignment as a way to promote greater stability, resilience and fairness to the financial system. The key messages are: Financial standards have

  • Sustainable Insurance: The Emerging Agenda for Supervisors and Regulators

    Date: 09-Aug-2017

    Key sustainability factors are now recognized as potentially significant for the success, safety and soundness of the insurance sector – inspiring reactions by supervisors and regulators. In its role as risk manager, risk carrier and investor, the global insurance sector plays a cornerstone role in the management of sustainability-related risks and opportunities. The risk transfer

  • Establishing China’s Green Financial System: Progress Report

    Date: 16-Nov-2017

    The report finds that China – which put green finance on the G20 agenda during its 2016 presidency – is following through on its political commitment to boost the financing required to do this. The report looks particularly at progress since the State Council in August 2016 approved a set of recommendations for action on

  • The Experience of Governance Innovations in South Africa

    Date: 17-Jun-2016

    This paper explores whether the extent to which Regulation 28, CRISA and JSE Integrated Reporting Standards (referred to as governance policy innovations) have influenced the level of investment that integrates Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in its decision making process. It finds that while governance innovations have increased actors’ awareness about interrelationship between ESG factors and financial performance it

  • Experience and Lessons from South Africa: An Initial Review

    Date: 17-Jun-2016

    This paper provides an outline of South Africa’s financial sector, the environmental and social issues it faces, the response of government and financial regulators and the extent to which has resulted in measurable sustainable investment flows. In South Africa environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations appear on the agenda of strategic discussions and are part of the

  • Aligning the Financial System with Sustainable Development in the United States of America

    Date: 01-Feb-2016

    The US financial system is undoubtedly among the largest, most innovative and most sophisticated in the world. It is also clear that this is both a benefit and an impediment to non-governmental investment in sustainability and inclusiveness. To date, the actual investment in infrastructure and sustainability does not meet current needs, especially those related to maintaining

  • Financial System Impact of Disruptive Innovation

    Date: 15-Sep-2014

    An efficient and resilient regulatory regime must not only deal competently with the financial system that exists currently; it must also have adaptive capacity to deal competently with the system that is emerging. This working paper examines disruptive innovations and their implications for the design of a green and inclusive financial system. It identifes five trends relevant

  • China Green Finance Task Force Report: Green Investor Networks

    Date: 02-Apr-2015

    This paper set out the case for financial institutes and associations in China to establish  a green investor network, to monitor investees’ performance of their environmental obligations, foster green investment capabilities, and hold educational programs. Internationally, green investor networks such as the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Principles for Responsible Investment have played a

Further Readings

  • Integrating Risks into the Financial System: The 1-in-100 Initiative Action Statement

    The 1 in 100 Initiative (2014).



  • Responding to Climate Change — The Insurance Industry Perspective

    Mills, E. (2007). In Climate Action, Sustainable Development International (in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme).

  • Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey

    Leurig, S & Dlugolecki, A. (2013). Boston: CERES.

  • Regulatory Approaches to Inclusive Insurance Market Development: Cross-country Synthesis Paper 2

    Access to Insurance Initiative (2014).

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