Howden appoints new CEO for Climate Risk and Resilience

It strengthens its climate and resilience capabilities with addition

Howden appoints new CEO for Climate Risk and Resilience


By Ada Tabanao

Global insurance group Howden has announced the appointment of Rowan Douglas (pictured) as its new CEO for Climate Risk and Resilience, effective June 26. Based in London, Douglas will report to Howden CEO David Howden. Charlie Langdale, meanwhile, will assume the role of chair for Climate Risk and Resilience.

The appointment of Douglas marks a significant milestone in Howden’s efforts to accelerate the growth of its climate and resilience capabilities, it stated in a news release.

“Tackling climate change requires the most substantial reallocation of capital in history, and insurance has a huge role to play across the mitigation, adaptation and resilience agenda. Meeting the challenge will take a global effort and radical collaboration across all industries, and between both the private and public sectors,” said David Howden, CEO, Howden.

Howden’s climate and resilience capabilities encompass various areas, including physical risks, decarbonisation-related risks, transition risks associated with a low-carbon economy, and the growing legal liabilities faced by public and private organisations. The broking group is also involved in various initiatives, such as the introduction of the world’s first carbon credit invalidation product for the voluntary carbon market and a partnership with the Resilient Cities Network. The company has also collaborated with organisations like the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the Danish Red Cross to facilitate pre-financing for those most affected by climate disasters.

“To have someone of Rowan’s calibre join us demonstrates not only the credentials of our Climate Risk and Resilience team but highlights our desire to use insurance as a force for good. Our goal is to embed climate and resilience expertise across the insurance value chain, for the benefit both of existing clients and those who do not have access to insurance,” Howden said.

Who is Rowan Douglas?

With over 30 years of experience in the re/insurance industry, Douglas brings a wealth of expertise in climate-related risk.

Prior to joining Howden, he held a key role at Willis Towers Watson (WTW), leading the Climate and Resilience Hub (CRH) and expanding it to include over 130 climate risk professionals. Douglas was also instrumental in establishing the Insurance Development Forum (IDF) and currently chairs its Operating Committee. He also played a key role in incubating the award-winning Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment.

In addition, Douglas served as CEO analytics for Willis Re and founded the Willis Research Network, which pioneered groundbreaking work on climate modelling in 2006. He served on the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science & Technology from 2011 to 2016 and was honored with a CBE in 2016 for his contributions to the economy through risk, insurance, and sustainable growth.

“I am thrilled to be joining Howden at this remarkable time in its growth and with climate central to its future development. My decision was driven by the company’s recognition, from the very top, that insurance capabilities are essential to de-risk the climate transition and protect lives, assets and livelihoods,” said Douglas.

“I look forward to working with David, Charlie and the wider team and have already been empowered and enthused by the can-do, collaborative and entrepreneurial culture here at Howden. Our focus will be on embedding the work of the Climate Risk and Resilience division across all of Howden’s product lines and geographies, ensuring it supports our clients and partners.”

In addition to his role at Howden, Douglas will continue to serve as chair of the Operating Committee for the IDF, demonstrating his commitment to fostering multilateral and cross-industry cooperation in addressing the complex challenges related to climate risk and resilience.

How important is climate and risk resilience to the insurance industry? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!