Recycling: tick. Solar panels: tick. Home insurance?

Written by Matt Criddle on 30th Oct 2017

When it comes to trying to live your life in a way that minimises your impact on the environment, the majority of us mean well, but often struggle to change our behaviour. Some of this is down to time or knowledge, sometimes it’s cost, often it’s just an unwillingness to compromise our lifestyles.

There are however, some really easy wins, some low hanging fruit, which don’t require making changes to your life on a daily basis. Instead they can be done whilst sat at your laptop over a morning coffee. In a single action, you can become greener and more ethical on a daily basis.

Popular examples include switching your energy provider to green electricity, switching your banking to an ethical bank or making more ethical investment decisions. Consumers are making these decisions in ever increasing numbers, something that is in part, due to the ease in which they can now make a change.

In addition to energy and finance, there is another option which may surprise some, and that is insurance.

Any organisation holding such assets is potentially running the risk of them becoming worthless, almost over night. For an industry whose remit is managing risk, this is a risky thing to do.

Like energy, insurance is a product that we could not easily live without, but it is not one that society generally associates with environmental or ethical purchasing choices.

So how can your choice of insurance provider have an impact on the fate of the planet? Naturesave believes that the insurance industry, through its underwriting and investments, is uniquely placed to change the world for the better by divesting from fossil fuels and embracing the environmental impact of risks within its core underwriting philosophies.

So where do you come in?

Like finance and banking, the insurance industry is making changes, but many would argue, simply not quickly enough. What has been missing in this sector is the voice of the consumer.

By placing your home or business insurance with Naturesave, you will join a unique and growing group of customers who are helping drive a movement within the insurance industry. The larger this movement gets the more impact it can have.

Naturesave’s success is increasingly demonstrating to the insurance industry that consumers have a thirst for change, and the enormous potential the insurance industry has in the fight against climate change.

Why Naturesave?

If you are a Naturesave customer, 10 per cent of the premium you pay us is donated to our charity, the Naturesave Trust. We repeat this every year that you remain a customer. The arrangement applies to household buildings and contents, travel, personal accident, legal expenses and small scale renewable energy insurance policy premiums.

This offer is unique in the insurance industry, and to date, has resulted in £580,000 being donated to environmental and conservation projects across the UK.

Among a raft of brilliant incentives, Naturesave offers commercial clients a free Environmental Performance Review (worth over £500) aimed at reducing the environmental impact of their business operations. It also offers home insurance clients, eco discounts of up to 30 per cent of their premium for energy efficient practices within the home.

Our passion for sustainability also applies to our day to day operations. All business journeys are made via public transport and staff are incentivised to avoid air travel for holidays, with the additional journey time provided as paid holiday. This was recognised specifically in the citation for our Queens Award for Enterprise, in the category of Sustainable Development in 2011.

Are insurance companies contributing to climate change?

Collectively, due to their size, industry companies represent one of the world’s biggest institutional investors and one of the world’s biggest investors in fossil fuels, a major contributing factor to global warming.

A recent report by market research company Profundo, highlighted that the largest 15 European insurance and reinsurance firms have US $130 billion invested in fossil fuels.

Furthermore, the report discovered that 11 of the 15 also underwrite fossil fuel projects, which reduces the financial risks involved in environmentally damaging commercial activity.

By investing in and underwriting coal, oil and gas, the industry that exists to mitigate future risks, is actually contributing to them. As the global temperature rises, our environment will become more hostile, leading to a catalogue of consequences that will have serious implications for society.

The predicted increase in natural disasters such as floods, heat waves, storms and droughts will lead to unprecedented and possibly catastrophic losses. Recent storms and forest fires demonstrate that in some cases, this is already happening.

Ironically, these climatic threats create serious potential problems for the insurance industry. The first and most obvious is the size of the associated cost of claims arising from more extreme weather.

However, it does not stop there. There is growing consensus that we have identified way more fossil fuel resources than we can afford to burn, if we are to keep future temperature rises below safe levels.

Any organisation holding such assets is potentially running the risk of them becoming worthless, almost over night. For an industry whose remit is managing risk, this is a risky thing to do.

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