Insuring Disaster


Number of insurers and total assets (US$ trillion) across regions

This report features 70 of the most influential insurance companies worldwide across 15 countries. We selected managers based on their total assets (reported as of 31 December 2019), according to the Eikon database. We excluded:

  • brokers;
  • insurers that mainly offer pension products;
  • companies that operate independent insurance subsidiaries but operate mainly in other
    sectors; and
  • subsidiaries of insurance companies where there is a parent company that operates predominantly in insurance.

The final list includes 39 pure life and/or health insurers, and 31 property and casualty (P&C) ormultiple business line insurance providers (we refer to this type of insurer as ‘insurers with a P&C business’ throughout this report). We present our findings in two separate rankings, as parts of our questionnaire are not applicable to pure life and/or health insurers; for example, exclusion criteria for coal-related projects.

Survey process

We sent a questionnaire to the selected insurers in October 2020. The survey covered governance, climate change, biodiversity and human rights and looked at both investment and underwriting activities. The questionnaire was developed with input from external experts, who are listed on the first page of the full report.

47 per cent of the insurers (33 out of 70) either responded directly or agreed to review a prepopulated questionnaire. For the 53 per cent who chose not to participate, we populated their survey response based on publicly available information and invited them to review this.

Non-disclosers generally perform worse in our surveys than disclosers, which can partly be explained by the fact that there will likely be some private information that we are unable to take into account.

However, it is also reasonable to assume that an unwillingness to engage with our survey suggests the company gives a lower level of importance to the issues we raise.

We collected information from November 2020 to February 2021; any information published after February was not taken into account in the scoring process – however, we have included some later information in the analysis for this report to ensure it is as up-to-date as possible. The full questionnaire can be viewed in the report Appendix.

Rating and scoring

Scores were assigned to individual answer options within the survey. Some questions have a higher weighting than others in their section, depending on their importance or relevance. The weighting for each section is summarised in the table below:

Score weightings across sections of the insurance survey questionnaire

The sections on climate change, human rights and biodiversity are each split into sections on investments and underwriting. For insurers with a P&C business, these two sections are weighted equally, so each contributes 11.5 per cent towards the total score. For pure life and/or health insurers, they are weighted as follows, due to the reduced impact this type of insurer is able to have on those topics:

  • Climate change – Investments: 15 per cent / Underwriting: 8 per cent
  • Biodiversity – Investments: 23 per cent / Underwriting: 0 per cent
  • Human rights – Investments: 23 per cent / Underwriting: 0 per cent

It is increasingly accepted that climate change is of relevance to the products offered by life and/ or health insurers, but the link with biodiversity and human rights is less clear, and we have therefore not scored life and/or health insurers on their underwriting activities in relation to these topics. Any remaining questions or answer options that do not apply to pure life and/or health insurers were normalised, to ensure that this type of insurer is not penalised in our ranking.

After each insurer was allocated an absolute score, rating bands were calculated relative to peers based on the number of standard deviations from the mean score. Each participant was assigned a rating based on their aggregated score, from AAA through to E. We did not award any AAA or AA ratings, as no insurers were found to demonstrate leading practice throughout their entire approach.

Performance descriptions for rating bands