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North American insurers fall behind on climate change

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  • Mike Neuman
    North American insurers fall behind on climate change 15 July 2005 - Insurance companies based in North America are failing to assess non-traditional sources
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 22, 2005
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      North American insurers fall behind on climate change

      15 July 2005 - Insurance companies based in North America are failing
      to assess non-traditional sources of risk, particularly those posed
      by climate change, as effectively as their European counterparts,
      according to a report* from Innovest Strategic Value Advisors.

      "Although there is continued debate regarding the increasing
      frequency of extreme events, climate change may already be …
      pressuring both reinsurers and insurers," says Brigid Barnett, a
      senior analyst at the New York-based socially responsible investment
      research firm. "Incorporating the risks of climate change into
      products and investment strategies is likely to be an increasingly
      important element of business success."

      Following analysis of 31 North American insurance firms, the report
      concludes that the companies showing the clearest commitment to
      sustainability issues are two Canadian life and health insurance
      companies, Sun Life and Manulife, and US property and casualty
      insurer Allstate.

      However, "North American insurers as a group lag far behind their
      European counterparts, particularly with respect to the growing risks
      from climate change," says Innovest.

      They also "have significantly less disclosure on policies and
      programmes addressing social and environmental issues relevant to
      their business" and most lack a "broad corporate social
      responsibility strategy".

      Adding a note of optimism, the report says that the strengthening
      commitment to social and environmental issues shown by market leaders
      such as AIG could lead to improvements throughout the sector.
      * North American Insurance Sector Report: A comparative analysis of
      company performance on intangible investment risk factors and value
      drivers, www.innovestgroup.com

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