QBE Insurance has reaffirmed its commitment to the impact investment sector by pledging to expand its industry-first Premiums4Good program to $2 billion by 2025.
Premiums4Good is a unique initiative that integrates social value with business value by connecting insurance customer premiums to growing demand for impact investments. The insurer invests a portion of policyholder premium in projects that support the environment or deliver direct, sustainable benefits to communities, such as those aimed at reducing homelessness. These impact investments also deliver risk adjusted returns and business value to shareholders.
Since the program’s inception in 2015, QBE has invested $904 million of insurance premiums across 66 investments in the countries where QBE does business. By 2025, the insurer aims to invest $2 billion globally to impact investments, spanning areas like health, education and employment, financial inclusion, urban and community development, and sustainable energy.
“When we first started Premiums4Good in 2015, we invested $145 million in six securities. Today, we’re close to $1 billion in 66 impact investments, which shows QBE’s continued commitment and leadership in the impact investment sector,” said Harpreet Mann (pictured), Head of Global Credit & Surety for QBE North America. “The Premiums4Good program is an important collaboration that strengthens our connection to our communities, customers and partners.”
Every year, QBE releases an Investment Impact Report to show policyholders what investment impacts the insurer has made globally. One of the key North American investments highlighted in the 2019-2020 report was QBE’s support of The Ford Foundation Social Bond – a $1 billion social bond offering to increase grant funding and support the viability of charitable organizations from 2020-2022. As explained in the report: “These Special Allocation Grants are focused on building resilience in the non-profit sector and stabilizing and strengthening the social justice sector.”
Mann told Insurance Business: “People often talk about charitable giving, which, of course, is something we engage in at QBE. But the Premiums4Good investments are even more impactful in many ways. Our recent investment into The Ford Foundation Social Bond is timely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on the economy, which has led to a decrease in financial support for non-profits just as the need across our communities has increased.
“In times like these, non-profits need more support than ever so they can continue the work they do in supporting communities that may not have access to crucial services. It’s great to work alongside an organization like The Ford Foundation, which has done so much to impact our communities since it was founded in 1936. This is a significant investment for us.”
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Premiums4Good has not only resonated well with QBE’s employees, policyholders and shareholders; it has also been an interesting conversation starter and point of differentiation with broker partners. There are multiple reasons for this, according to Mann. Firstly, the initiative shows QBE’s commitment to sustainability, which is increasingly an important issue for QBE’s broker partners as well as policyholders. As explained in the Investment Impact Report 2019-2020, the insurer has pledged its support for the 17 aims and objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seek to address the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. This commitment to long-term sustainability goals has garnered “positive feedback” from QBE’s broker partners, Mann explained.
“Based on conversations with our partners, we also know that brokers are increasingly seeing questions in the RFPs from clients around sustainability issues,” she added. “There will soon be a time when policyholders start to bring a sustainability lens when making their insurance buying decisions to work with an insurer that holds similar values to them. That’s where Premiums4Good is so important to us at QBE. We want to connect with our policyholders by creating shared value with them - we want to demonstrate who we are at QBE and our shared commitment to our communities around the world. To grow from $145 million to $904 million in impact investments over five years – that’s a big commitment, and it’s a continued commitment showing our leadership as an insurance company.”