An insurer, broker and risk management expert will talk on sustainability subjects such as reporting requirements, risk appetite and the impact of ESG awareness on placements

BrokerFest 2023: A trio of industry experts – including insurer Aviva – will debate the challenges and opportunities around insurance firms embedding sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their business practices at this week’s BrokerFest 2023 conference, to be held on 23 February at Etc.venues St Paul’s.

The discussion will include consideration as to how insurance companies can commercialise investments into ESG elements because “sustainability always comes at a cost to the business”, according to Simon Burckitt, UK general insurance sustainability lead at insurer Aviva.

The panel debate, which will start at 10.30am, will additionally feature James Alexander, environmental practice leader at Lockton Companies, and Clive Thompson, technical advisor for the Institute of Risk Management. The session will be chaired by Insurance Times editor Katie Scott.

Better understanding sustainability

Alongside flagging the opportunities for commercial advantage that can be brought about by engaging in sustainable practices, the panel will also discuss next steps and how insurance firms can continue their work to become more sustainable entities.

They will also highlight the role insurers and brokers can play in driving the transition to net zero carbon dioxide emissions.

For example, the panellists will provide know-how around current reporting requirements for sustainability, whether these are likely to change and what this could mean in the long term for the insurance sector.

Alexander noted that there is a “huge opportunity” around benchmarking linked to the development of sustainability-based reporting requirements.

Other areas the panellists will touch on include insurers’ risk appetite around sustainability-related innovations and technology – where there may not be historic data to inform underwriting – the impact insurers’ investment strategies can have on the sector’s sustainability ambitions and market feedback on the Net Zero Insurance Alliance’s target-setting protocol, which was published in January 2023.

“ESG is nothing new in my mind,” Alexander said. “The relevance to other people – stakeholders – is the new thing. The fact that boards of directors are either going to shine or hang themselves on next year’s report and accounts.

“That’s where I see the opportunity. If you’re a good corporate citizen and you’re a good risk and you’re working with a good insurer [that] understands what a good risk looks like and you’re well advised by a competent set of advisors, then you should be in a really good position and your investors won’t run away, your clients will stick with you and sustainability underpins the product offering this year and for the next three, five, 10 years.”

Brokers can attend BrokerFest 2023 for free - register for your place by clicking here.