I.I.I.’s James Ballot, Senior Director of Marketing and Content Strategy, contributes these highlights from the IIS Global Forum 2017.
Established millennia ago and since visited continually by perils ranging from fire, flood, pestilence, civil unrest and wave upon wave of attacking foreign enemies, it’s no great stretch to call London the de-facto global headquarters of resilience. So it’s fitting that London should host this year’s International Insurance Society’s (IIS) Global Insurance Forum (GIF), given that the event’s focus was set squarely on Global Resilience and the Role of Insurance.
At the Forum more than 500 delegates and other attendees gathered to set a truly global agenda for how insurance and other parties–NGOs, policymakers, businesses, educational institutions, the media, among others—will respond to challenges ranging from political instability to cyberthreats to the need to create the right talent infrastructure to master the technological changes presently shaping our industry to innovating ways to address threats posed by intensifying natural catastrophe cycles.
Among the highlights:
- A video address from HRH The Prince of Wales to open the Day 3 Insurance Development Forum (IDF) in which he outlines four key areas where insurance can assume leadership in fostering resilience.
- Wide-ranging discussions of the “insurance gap” and how narrowing it is essential to building financial resilience against cyberattacks, as well as mitigating uninsured natural catastrophe losses among vulnerable populations in developing nations.
- The Nature Conservancy, a top-line partner at this year’s GIF, introduced an innovative insurance product underwritten by Swiss Re that insures coral reefs and other natural coastal fortifications.
- Insurtech and emerging innovations are changing the business—mostly by creating a climate in which, as one insurance fund capital manager asserted, insurance and tech startups can partner to help make “yesterday’s risks insurable today.”
A lot to cover in a single posting, to be sure. For a deeper dive into the goings-on at IIS Global Forum, Asia Insurance Review (AIR) offers gavel-to-gavel coverage of the event, as well as valuable insights from Forum participants.
As we mark Earth Day and as nearly 170 countries gather in New York to sign the Paris climate treaty, a timely new partnership between the insurance industry, the United Nations and the World Bank is set to put vulnerable economies and societies on a path to a green, risk-informed and sustainable future.
The Insurance Development Forum (IDF) aims to incorporate insurance industry risk measurement know-how into existing governmental disaster risk reduction and resilience frameworks and to build out a more sustainable and resilient global insurance market in a world facing growing natural disaster and climate risk.
With more than 90 percent of the economic costs of natural disasters in the developing world uninsured (the so-called protection gap), the IDF mission is to better understand and utilize risk measurement tools to enable governments to use their resources to target resilience and better protect people and their property.
A press release notes:
“The IDF acts as a forum to enable the optimal coordination of insurance related activities; the development of shared priorities; the mobilization of collective resources; the development of strategic and operational relationships within and between governments, industry and international institutions; and, the avoidance of unhelpful and unnecessary fragmentation of efforts and resources. These collective actions can help close the protection gap.”
The IDF will be led by a high level steering group of senior leaders from the insurance industry as well as government institutions supported by an executive secretariat housed at the International Insurance Society (IIS).
IDF chair Stephen Catlin, who is also executive deputy chairman, XL Catlin and deputy chair of the IIS, commented:
“Insurers’ risk management skills help us assess natural disaster risk and can be exported to allow governments at all levels to reduce future losses by designing in resilience into infrastructure projects; and in increasing the use of insurance as a pre-disaster economic resource to allow people to protect their families, property and assets.”
“These skills can increase the utilization of insurance which will reduce the reliance on post-disaster aid and better target resources to the most important and needed humanitarian crises. Research has shown that a 1% increase in insurance penetration can reduce the disaster recovery burden on taxpayers by 22%.”
A keynote address by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon last week emphasized the critical role the insurance industry can play in building natural disaster resilience.
According to Swiss Re research, the global natural catastrophe property protection gap has risen steadily over the last 10 years, and 70% of the economic losses, or USD 1.3 trillion, were uninsured. In the emerging markets, 80 percent to 100 percent of the losses are uninsured.
Check out this Insurance Information Institute backgrounder on climate change and insurance issues here.