AGCS announces in-house ESG team

Sustainability and insurance veterans will head up new team

AGCS announces in-house ESG team


By Mary Or

A new in-house set-up dedicated to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) activities at Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty (AGCS) will allow the company to further prioritise sustainability in its operations and with its customers.

AGCS has established an in-house ESG team dedicated to supporting its customers’ transition to a net-zero economy with risk-mitigating products and solutions that maximise their opportunities along the way. AGCS has announced several high-profile hires to jumpstart its in-house ESG team’s activities.

Gabrielle Durisch (pictured above, left) – previously from the Zurich Insurance Group – is the new global head of ESG & sustainability solutions. She will work with all lines of AGCS business starting April 2023 to develop new insurance solutions geared towards supporting renewable energy, sustainable construction and transport, and low-carbon technology.

Durisch was previously Zurich’s global head of sustainability for commercial insurance and group underwriting and had been with Zurich since 2011. Before that, she worked in various roles at Deloitte, General Motors, and KPMG.

Ralf Heintges (pictured above, right) is the global head of ESG & sustainability governance effective September this year. He oversees AGCS’ decarbonisation of its own insurance portfolio consistent with the Allianz Group’s membership in the UN-convened Net Zero Insurance Alliance.

Heintges brings over 30 years of experience in underwriting and underwriting governance in the engineering and construction lines of business to AGCS’ in-house ESG team. Prior to his appointment, he was AGCS’ global head for underwriting integrity and solutions.

Both Durisch and Heintges will work under AGCS chief underwriting officer, specialty, Renate Strasser, who heads up all underwriting-related ESG activities within the company.

“Tackling climate change and other ESG factors increasingly drive the agenda, both in business and society,” Strasser said. “At AGCS, we are committed to realising Allianz Group’s sustainability strategy and becoming an ESG leader in the corporate insurance segment. Our new ESG organisational set-up is now fully rolled out.

“We see this new business area as a priority for growth, focused on delivering impact and accelerating the path to a net zero world…. We will partner with our customers on their low-carbon transition, supporting them with new products and services and helping them mitigate increasing climate risk.”

Head of ESG operations Katja Oristanio, who has held the role since July 2022, will ensure that AGCS contributes to Allianz Group’s larger targets for net zero operations by 2030. She joined AGCS from Allianz Reinsurance where she was global head of protection and resilience. Oristanio first started at Allianz in 2009 as a regional sales manager for Allianz Germany before taking ESG & sustainability-related roles at Allianz SE, Allianz Reinsurance, and Allianz Climate Solutions.

AGCS has implemented Allianz Group underwriting guidelines for covering fossil fuel sectors such as coal-based businesses since 2018. More recently, or since April this year, it has begun to do the same for the oil and gas industry. It is a major insurer of wind and solar energy and is committed to expanding support for companies and projects in the green tech segment, including the fast-evolving hydrogen technology.

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