65% of Insurance Firms See Significant Impact from Poor ESG Performance: Survey

According to a recent survey conducted by the legal and business consulting firm DWF Group, insurance firms have felt increased pressure on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues from regulators, employees, and clients in the last two years.

Source: Advisen | Published on March 28, 2022

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In the report, Claire Bowler, global head of DWF's insurance sector, stated, "There has been a huge spotlight on insurance over the last 24 months compared to other sectors, and it has unfortunately resulted in companies losing business as a result." "Insurance companies are aware that they must catch up, and there is increased and necessary engagement from the board level throughout organizations."

This pressure is felt by 55 percent of senior insurance executives, compared to 46 percent of executives in other industries. Just over a quarter (28 percent) admitted that their company's ESG performance is "weak" and that they are rethinking their strategies. According to DWF, approximately 65 percent of insurance respondents say their poor ESG performance has caused their firms to lose work, which is higher than the 59 percent across all industries.

The issue is most noticeable in firms' ability to attract new talent. According to 42 percent of insurance companies worldwide, slow progress on ESG has hampered recruitment efforts.

"This is about future-proofing your business in the same way that risk management is about future-proofing your business." In the report, Suzanne Scatliffe, global sustainability director at AXA XL, stated, "ESG is another component of that."

According to Kirsty Rogers, head of ESG at DWF, stakeholders have much higher expectations for organizations these days. She stated in the report that responsible action on climate change, diversity and inclusion, and financial sustainability is now critical.

"Communities have a right to expect more from business, and businesses that do not engage and support their communities do so at their peril," Rogers said, adding, "All of this drives a revolution in the adoption of ESG principles that cannot be ignored by any business that wants to secure a sustainable future." The benefits for organizations willing to engage with the new ESG agenda now could be significant."