Insurer to encourage policyholders to use eco-friendly materials.

Zurich has boosted its green credentials with a proposal to encourage policyholders to use environmentally friendly materials when rebuilding their homes.

If a building is partially damaged, such as by flood, Zurich can fix the partial loss using materials that would qualify for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, or international equivalents.

The certification system was developed by the US Green Building Council and provides standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

Currently, the offering is available in the US for commercial buildings. But Lindene Patton, chief climate product officer for Zurich, said the idea might be rolled out in the UK for personal lines.

Along with the possibility of products that permit insured clients to rebuild with green materials after a property loss, Zurich is also looking at coverage that would recognise disaster-resilient buildings and their characteristics.

There is also a possibility of giving discounts for buildings with disaster-resilient structure and materials.

Governments worldwide have been changing building regulations to promote or enforce greener construction.

So a property that is rebuilt after damage might have to be reconstructed in a green manner, in order to meet building regulations.

But Patton believes the policy could be offered to customers even in countries where the building regulations do not stipulate sustainable construction.

For example, natural roofs built with soil, trees, bushes and other natural materials could be considered sustainable because they absorb carbon.

Meanwhile, Zurich has become the latest insurer to consider entering the pay-as-you-drive market, following Norwich Union’s recent withdrawal from the market.

This would also be a green initiative because drivers who spend less time on the road would save more money on their motor insurance.

Patton said: “We’re still in the analysis phase. I think it’s telling that people have come in and gone out of this market. It might be appropriate in some cases and in some cases it may not.

“We’re looking at it for personal and commercial lines.”