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ClimateWise welcomes its new Chair following an unprecedented year of climate losses for the insurance sector

last modified Jan 30, 2018 08:59 AM
16 January 2018 – Dominic Christian, Executive Chairman of Aon Benfield International has been appointed Chair of ClimateWise. ClimateWise is a group of 28 leading insurance industry organisations facilitated by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). Dominic replaces the outgoing Chair Maurice Tulloch, Chief Executive Officer, International Insurance at Aviva whose term ended on 31 December 2017.

The role of ClimateWise, in supporting the insurance industry to respond to the risks and opportunities of the climate-risk protection gap – the growing divide between total economic and insured losses from climate change – is more important than ever. This follows a year of natural disasters and extreme weather events that has put 2017 on track to be one of the most expensive on record. Already an estimated $100 billion of insured losses have occurred.

In his new role, Dominic will support ClimateWise to empower its members to fulfil their role as society’s risk manager. Specifically, this is to identify the commercial opportunities for helping to promote physical resilience to climate-risk. According to Tom Herbstein, the Director of ClimateWise, ‘Dominic’s long and deep knowledge of insurance, coupled with his immense personal passion, makes him exceptionally well positioned to help us deliver a more sustainable insurance model. With a broker at the helm, this only further reinforces the immense untapped potential residing within the industry’s data, modelling and general risk management expertise.’

Speaking of his appointment Dominic said:

“We need a proactive and collaborative response to tackle one of our most profound challenges – the widening climate risk protection gap. I have always admired ClimateWise for playing a unique leadership role in this critical area.”

Dominic takes over the position from Maurice Tulloch who has chaired the group through three years of exceptional growth and focused the group on the commercial risks and opportunities associated with the climate risk protection gap. Maurice led the formation of the ClimateWise Council, a group of senior insurance leaders commissioning research on the ‘physical’ and ‘transition’ risks of climate change.

Maurice Tulloch said:

“It’s been an honour to have chaired ClimateWise for the past three years. Climate change poses significant and real risks for people and I passionately believe that the insurance industry has a major role to play in reducing its impact. I wish Dominic great success as ClimateWise continues to drive awareness and change in such a crucial issue.”

According to Dominic:

“It is a privilege to take over from Maurice, to Chair this group and build on the great work his leadership has already achieved in helping our industry meaningfully and sustainably respond to climate change risk.”

Looking ahead to 2018, Climate Wise is increasing its focus on how the industry can support society to manage the climate risk protection gap. This includes ways the insurance sector can support a more empowering regulatory environment, how insurers can inform other parts of the financial system on its exposure to climate risk and the role it can play in collaborating with cities to manage their physical exposure to risk.

Another key ambition for the group is to align The ClimateWise Principles fully with the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) given that many ClimateWise members have been disclosing their response to climate risk for a decade.