Insurers don’t assess asset managers’ sustainability

New ShareAction report finds 24% of insurers don't analyse asset managers' responsible policies

Insurers are coming up short when it comes to sustainability, with nearly half having no board-level involvement in responsible investment and overwriting.

This is the finding of a recent report by ShareAction, Insuring Disaster, which ranked 70 of the world’s largest insurers on their responsible practices.

Only 20% said the board sets the agenda on these topics, just 17% said they have at least one board member with specific sustainability-related expertise, and only 19% have board level KPIs or objectives linked to responsible investment and underwriting.

They also appear unconcerned about the sustainable credentials of their asset managers. Just 24% said they choose asset managers for their approach to responsible investment and another 24% don’t bother analysing managers’ responsible policies at all.

Only a small minority of insurers and their managers have robust stewardship practices – and transparency on stewardship activities is poor. Less than a third publish any information at all. One engagement activity is voting, but although 42% said they would consider voting against board members, on 15% provided evidence of having done so.

Source: ShareAction

The report also found insurers to be lacking in particular areas of sustainability, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and diversity.

Most are also failing to adequately address systemic risks such as climate change and biodiversity loss, with little progress on either.

Only 25% of boards are women on average, with Asia the worst region with just 11% women on boards. Just eight insurers disclose the level of racial diversity at board level and only half are taking action to improve their operational workforce diversity and inclusion.

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Natasha Turner

Natasha is global deputy editor at ESG Clarity, part of the Bonhill Group, and has been a financial journalist for six years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of...