The consideration given to sustainability in our business operations relates principally to our reinsurance products and services as well as the management of our investments and is taking on added importance given the growing awareness among the general public of sustainability issues. It is therefore increasingly important to evaluate insurance products with an eye to their environmental and social implications as well as their relevance to sustainable development.
Our reinsurance services do not give rise to any direct relevant environmental impacts. Rather, our services help to ensure that environmental risks are adequately insured and that the effects in the event of loss or damage can be rectified or mitigated. Beneficial social consequences are at the very core of insurance business. They include the transfer and spreading of risks, by means of which the impacts of loss events can be absorbed and both companies and private individuals alike can be financially protected. Often, it is only the backing of internationally operating reinsurers that enables primary insurers to cover large individual risks and the risks associated with natural perils.
In the engineering insurance lines, for example, multifaceted insurance solutions are realised in support of renewables, ranging from wind power generated on- and offshore to photovoltaic and geothermal energy. Insurance protection begins with the construction phase and accompanies the customer through many years of operation. By providing our support as a reinsurer we encourage the expansion of products in response to climate change, such as weather insurance and coverage for energy-saving warranties, and by delivering insurance solutions in areas such as microinsurance and agricultural risks we also play a part in the development of more structurally deprived regions. These enable people with scant financial means to protect themselves against fundamental risks such as illness, disability, the consequences of natural disasters or crop failures. We are also taking an active part in the development of index-based disaster finance concepts that guarantee rapid financial assistance for countries in South America and Asia in the event of natural catastrophes. We support primary insurance start-ups with the cost-intensive acquisition of new business and help them to increase insurance density.
In life and health reinsurance demographic changes around the world are leading to stronger demand for reinsurance in the area of longevity solutions. We are also seeing rising demand for so-called lifestyle products, which principally involve insurance solutions under which the premium is linked to an insured’s healthy lifestyle (e. g. fitness and nutritional habits).
In the area of other risks we pay particular attention to future (emerging) risks. The hallmark of such risks is that their content cannot as yet be reliably assessed. Our interdisciplinary working group on “Emerging Risks and Scientific Affairs” analyses, for example, risks associated with possible climate change. Global warming would, for instance, affect not only natural perils, but also human health, the world economy, the agricultural sector and much more besides. Further examples of emerging risks include technology risks, shortage of resources and supply chain risks. On these and other topics the working group formulates internal position papers and makes recommendations regarding their handling in reinsurance practice. Within the working group the trend radar continuously tracks long-term and mega-trends.
|Goal to be achieved by 2017:
Development and expansion of “sustainable” products
|Closer cooperation with primary insurers to develop and expand sustainable products
|Cooperation with primary insurers in Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia and India is being steadily expanded in the growing market for microinsurance products.
|Development of products that promote, for example, renewable energies
|We are driving the expansion of products with a bearing on
change, such as weather insurance and coverage
for energy-saving warranties in Germany, to other
Index-based disaster finance concepts, which guarantee rapid financial assistance in the event of natural disasters, have been developed for countries in South America and Asia.
|Further expansion of microinsurance products
|In India we play an active part in the expansion of microinsurance business and reinsure a growing volume there. We also partner with primary insurers in countries such as Pakistan, the Philippines and Indonesia to provide suitable microinsurance solutions for the market. In Malaysia we support an initiative to expand state-subsidised accident and disability insurance covers.
|Expansion of the dialogue on emerging risks
|An in-house information system on topics relating to emerging risks keeps our employees updated and serves as a basis for dialogue. The expansion of the dialogue will continue in the 2018 to 2020 strategy cycle.