Blanc believes that world leaders need to come together to agree what a ’good’ transition plan looks like 

Aviva’s chief executive Amanda Blanc named flooding as the UK’s biggest risk at the Business of Resilience conference.

This came during an interview session at the conference, entitled Why Climate Resilience should be at Heart of Everyone’s Business, last month (21 March 2022).

Blanc, said: “As an insurer particularly for the UK, flooding is one of the biggest risks that we have faced over the past couple of years.

“We have to think about how we mitigate that. We have been faced with a situation where we have been planning for a very long time, we were one of the first insurers to start thinking about how we will build resilience into our business. But effectively we had to re-commit our net zero plans.”

Aviva wanted to be more ambitious with its plans and drafted its 2040 ambition – it intends to have hit net zero carbon emission goals by this date. 

These plans included its net zero plan, with various steppingstones across the entire timeline between now and then.

Future proofing the business

Aviva has put various actions in place to futureproof its business, such as putting car parks on its office premises, a net zero operation target, having conversations with all its suppliers about their plans, divestments in fossil fuel and underwriting more renewables.

Aviva is also looking at building resilience into communities – Blanc noted the flooding in Doncaster in 2019.

“I found members of the community that could not afford to be without insurance were the most affected, it tends to be people with little money that live close to the riverbank and therefore they struggle to recover,” she said.

To offset this, Aviva worked closely with Biba to ensure that customers were well prepared by looking at areas that were most affected in the UK.

“Aviva has always had a strategy of being very proactive with the companies that we invest in, we started with the top 30 emitters in our own portfolio to work with them on their transition plans and we made a commitment that we will stick with that,” Blanc said.

Although she sees government action on this area as important, she continued: “It’s not just government, its insurers, banks and business that we insure and, unfortunately, it isn’t just the UK.

“We can have the best way of measuring net zero in the UK but if it’s a different measure for others in the word there is no point.”

She recommended that world leaders need to come together to agree on what a good transition plan looks like and reiterated that climate resilience and flooding is a “huge topic” for Aviva.