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More than 35% of insurers' invested assets exposed to risks from climate change - IAIS

Quantitative data analysis shows that "climate-relevant" assets within equities, corporate bonds, loans and mortgages, sovereign bonds and real estate represent more than 35% of insurers' total assets, says the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

Within equities, corporate bonds and loans and mortgages, most climate-relevant assets relate to the housing and energy-intensive sectors.

These findings are in the 2021 special topic edition of the IAIS Global Insurance Market Report (GIMAR). This year, the report assesses how insurance sector investments are exposed to climate change, reflecting the findings of the first such global quantitative study.

Type of transition

Scenario analysis assessing the forward-looking impact of climate change shows that the magnitude of the impact is highly dependent on the type of climate transition considered. Compared to an orderly transition towards internationally agreed climate targets, a disorderly transition, or a scenario whereby climate targets are not met, would have a two to six times greater adverse effect on sector-wide solvency.

For example, under a “disorderly transition” scenario, results show an absolute drop in insurers’ solvency ratio of more than 14%, increasing to almost 50% under a “too little, too late” scenario.

Nevertheless, considering the solid overall solvency position of the global insurance sector, the sector as a whole appears to be able to absorb investment losses from all scenarios tested, GIMAR says.

“This report underscores the importance for supervisors of assessing how climate change may affect the insurance sector and individual insurers and of developing an appropriate supervisory response,” said Jonathan Dixon, IAIS secretary-general.

“The IAIS is committed to deepening the breadth and scope of our contributions to helping insurance supervisors mitigate the effects of climate change.”

“Climate change is the defining challenge for this generation. The GIMAR uses data from our wide membership in combination with analytical tools to understand how the insurance sector is exposed to climate risk,” said Vicky Saporta, IAIS executive committee chair.

Drawing on unique quantitative and qualitative data gathered from 32 IAIS members covering 75% of the global insurance sector, this report represents the first global deep-dive analysis on insurers’ investment exposures and supervisors’ views on climate-related risks. The report identifies key risks and vulnerabilities for the sector.

The IAIS is a global standard-setting body whose objectives are to promote effective and globally consistent supervision of the insurance industry. Its membership includes insurance supervisors from more than 200 jurisdictions.


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