Insurers need to ’lead by example’, says commercial director 

The insurance industry needs to “urgently support brokers to improve their climate understanding” as a “significant proportion” show ”no interest” in being net zero.

That was according to Ecclesiastical Insurance commercial director Adrian Saunders, who said insurers “need to lead by example” in ecnouraging brokers to begin their net zero journey.

It comes after the specialist insurer commissioned independent research agency FWD to carry out 251 interviews with insurance brokers based in the UK between January and February 2023.

The research, which was published last week (19 April 2023), revealed the number of brokers who said their firm had no interest in being net zero rose from 21% to 27% year-on-year.

It also revealed an increase in firms saying they were too small for net zero to concern them, rising from 3% to 12%.

Saunders told Insurance Times that it was “worrying that a significant proportion of regional brokers have no interest in being net zero”.

However, the research found the main barrier to setting a target was that brokers do not have the resources to focus on net zero right now, with 51% of companies feeling this way.

Asked how brokers can overcome the barrier, Saunders said there were “plenty of resources available to help start a conversation and then identify current areas of impact and opportunity”.

“We see the impact of climate change in our everyday jobs through the increase in major weather events and it’s not an issue that’s going away,” he said.

“The UK government is making net zero transition plans mandatory across the economy and so we will all need to face into this issue soon.

“That’s why as an industry, we need to urgently support brokers to improve their climate understanding.”

’Increasing awareness’

However, the research also revealed three quarters of brokers agreed that reducing their climate impact was the right thing to do for the environment.

Two in five (41%) also said their company was more aware of climate issues than 12 months ago, while results showed a small increase in brokers measuring their carbon footprint.

Saunders said brokers could be encouraged to become net zero by helping them “make a start through understanding that reducing their climate impact has benefits for their business as well as the environment”.

“There is an increasing awareness and expectation among consumers around climate issues and brokers that can take the lead in the net zero agenda will secure a competitive advantage,” he added.

“It also puts brokers in a strong position to futureproof against policy and market changes and be ready for emerging risks related to climate change. It could also help attract and retain talent.”