Climate change is a challenge that more and more Canadians are becoming wary of. In recent years, severe weather has made its presence felt from coast to coast, with wildfires ravaging western provinces and flooding submerging parts of the east. As insured losses from catastrophic weather events continue to increase, insurance organizations are starting to band together in an effort to build more resilient communities.
In November, Intact Financial Corporation announced it’s taking part in the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) to tackle the issue of climate change and how it affects the insurance industry around the world.
Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer will be part of the United Nations Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) pilot, which brings together 16 of the world’s largest insurers to discuss the impacts of climate change on the industry. Being part of the TCFD will help Intact “evaluate the impacts of climate change in a more standardized and transparent way,” according to Mandy Dennison, director, corporate social responsibility, Intact Financial Corporation.
“The impact of climate change is one of the most important challenges facing society. Canadians from coast to coast have experienced first-hand the ravages of severe weather, because of a changing climate,” Dennison said. “Over the last few years, we have witnessed a continued increase in the severity of weather events and unpredictable weather patterns such as wildfires in the west and heavy precipitation in the east. In Canada alone, insurable losses have more than doubled every five to 10 years since the 1980s.
“As Canada's largest property and casualty insurance provider, we saw the disruption potential in climate change years ago and have integrated climate impact management directly into operations.
We use data and machine learning to better analyze and forecast risks, determine the risk drivers related to our new climate realities and build on our claims capabilities to help customers affected by catastrophic events quickly, particularly in disaster management. We also re-insure certain risks to limit our losses in the event of catastrophic events or other significant losses.”
Intact has also signed on to the UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), which is a best-practice sustainability framework that insurers around the world can follow in order to address environmental, social and governance risks. Dennison said following PSI standards is aligned with Intact’s long-standing core commitment to “building a strong, resilient and prosperous society”.
“We believe brokers have an important role to play in educating their customers, helping them understand climate-related risks, and promoting adaptation measures that will help customers protect their property from natural perils,” she told Insurance Business. “Brokers have strong ties to their communities, discussing strategies and working with them to mitigate losses is extremely important for building resilience against climate change. The Intact Centre, for example, regularly engages with brokers across Canada, sharing research findings and providing brokers with information on how they can communicate flood risks with their customers.”