Climate Change Strategy

Climate protection needs clear action

Droughts, floods and hurricanes – extreme weather events are increasing. To what extent are we already affected by climate change? And what role can Allianz play as a global insurance company and risk expert? The Allianz Climate Strategy defines the requirements and areas of action for us, as a responsible insurer and investor, over the coming years. Simone Ruiz-Vergote, Managing Director of the Allianz Competence Center for Climate Risks and Renewable Energy at Allianz Climate Solutions, and Katharina Latif, Head of the Corporate Responsibility Department of the Allianz Group give details:

Ever more extreme weather conditions are influencing the insurance business. Are these events related to climate change?

Simone Ruiz-Vergote: Not every weather-related catastrophe can be attributed to climate change. Even with Hurricane Harvey in Texas in August 2017, scientists find it difficult to establish clear causal connections because there are many associated variables. What is undisputed, however, is that increases in extreme weather conditions are linked to long-term climate warming. 

There has been a fivefold increase in average losses from natural catastrophes worldwide since the 1980s, so the value at stake has increased tremendously. To take 2016, insured damage caused by natural catastrophes amounted to €54 billion euros worldwide – a 42 percent increase on the previous year. Yet this is a reversible trend if measures are taken to enhance societal resilience. Allianz can help, for example, by running a “health check” on a city’s flood management or advising during infrastructure planning processes.

Our Climate Change Strategy

Read more about our climate strategy in our PDF Report.

How are Allianz customers affected by climate change?

Simone Ruiz-Vergote: Our customer surveys show that the topic is on their radar. Industrial customers in exposed regions are increasingly asking for better protection. Rising temperatures lead, for example, to stronger precipitation in Central Europe, which will also affect the homes of many people in the longer term. Those who have not taken sufficient precautions against the threat of property damage could stand to lose much.

Katharina Latif: Climate change also intensifies social inequality. Both topics are part of Allianz's Sustainability Strategy. A country threatened by flooding, such as Bangladesh, has limited financial resources to protect the population. Developing and newly industrialized countries in particular suffer from the fatal combination of weak environmental conditions, high energy requirements and extreme weather. Many people in those countries are not adequately informed about the risks, let alone insured. We want to reduce this “protection gap" in the long term by working together with public organizations.

How does Allianz protect customers against climate change?

Katharina Latif: Overall, Allianz offers more than 150 sustainable solutions worldwide. To mention three: we protect small farmers in Asia against crop failures via microinsurance; we act as risk managers for wind farm operators and solar plant operators; and private carsharing communities are in good hands with Allianz.

Simone Ruiz-Vergote is Managing Director of Allianz Climate Solutions – the Allianz Group’s Competence Center for Climate Risks and Renewable Energy

In our role as an investor, we take climate protection just as seriously. With the financing of wind andsolar parks worth over 4 billion euros, we are a leading European investor. Since 2016, we have systematically taken into account environmental, governance and social criteria when investing the insured funds. Life insurance customers in Germany, can therefore expect not only good yields but also have a good conscience.

And what is Allianz doing for the cause?

Simone Ruiz-Vergote: The climate strategy is also binding for us. Since 2012, the Allianz Group has been working with an innovative approach - through our own investments, among other things, in forestry protection in developing countries. In addition, we have set goals to reduce our environmental footprint and integrate these into our travel guidelines, energy supply and water and waste disposal. Today, we already draw a large share of our own electricity demand from renewable energies and we are looking at how we can expand this further. In addition, we decided to exit the financing of coal-based business models in 2015. For our climate.

 

Allianz Climate Solutions GmbH (ACS) is the Competence Center for Climate Risks and Renewable Energy. ACS supports the renewable energy industry with insurance and risk management solutions, such as risk advisory and insurance services for green energy projects for external clients and Allianz entities worldwide. In parallel, ACS works with both private and public sector partners towards improving societal resilience to climate change through dedicated insurance approaches. ACS has been hosted by AllianzRe since 2016.

The Corporate Responsibility team defines and executes the Group’s Corporate Responsibility strategy. We integrate ESG aspects into the insurance and investment business, conduct stakeholder dialogs with NGOs and peers, and publish the annual sustainability report and participate in sustainability ratings. Our Climate Team works on early identification and measurement of climate opportunities and risks as well as on integrating them into Allianz’s business both for the investment and insurance side. We furthermore foster social inclusion – mainly through the Group-wide Encouraging Future Generations program – with employee volunteering, community service and partnering with organizations such as SOS children’s Villages.

Katharina Latif is Head of the Corporate Responsibility Team of the Allianz Group