Swiss Re Stresses Role of Insurance at Climate Change Conference

February 19, 2008

Rick Murray, Managing Director at Swiss Re, made some important observations on the insurance industry’s role in dealing with problems caused by the changing climate.

Speaking at a United Nations Climate Risk Summit (also addressed by Al Gore) in New York on Valentine’s Day, Murray pointed out Swiss Re’s longstanding support for initiatives to deal with increased risks posed by the world’s changing climate.

“There is an important role for the insurance industry to share its insights into the risks of climate change,” he told investors and business leaders at the conference. “Climate change challenges our industry in myriad ways – the property coverage damage and mortality losses that arise from natural catastrophes, as well as the exposure that continues to grow as climate-related liability litigation gains momentum. The industry’s deep knowledge and expertise based on its claims experience need to be shared.”

The United Nations Foundation, in partnership with CERES, hosted the meeting. Topics discussed by the participants included the far-reaching economic impacts of climate change, the responses of a growing number of U.S. and overseas investors, and the vast financial opportunities that energy efficiency and other technologies offer for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating economic growth.

Swiss Re has been a long time sponsor of such conferences. The reinsurer also noted that it has “a long-standing commitment to the issue of human influence on climate risk. In 1994, the company developed a Corporate Report on the subject that served as an enlightened statement of concern on the topic emphasizing the links with commerce and society. This prompted Swiss Re to develop a comprehensive strategy to manage the risks, seize business opportunities, advocate for emissions reductions, and reduce its own carbon footprint.”

Managing Director Ivo Menzinger, who is responsible for Swiss Re’s climate change activities, indicated, “while we need to be alert to the risks, it is encouraging to see, how the focus of the debate has moved from the downside of climate change to the opportunities associated with transitioning to a low-carbon economy.”

Source: Swiss Re –

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