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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

With over US$35 trillion of invested assets, the insurance industry is one of the world’s largest institutional investors. The industry therefore has significant influence over the financial markets based on where it directs its flows of capital. Significant progress has already been made on how insurer’s asset management activities can support the transition to a low carbon economy. Less attention has been given to how the industry can use its financial assets to manage risk on the underwriting side of its business and manage the widening protection gap by enhancing physical resilience to climate risks.


Net zero underwriting

The net zero underwriting task group convened by ClimateWise at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability produced a report outlining the key considerations for setting net zero targets for the insurance underwriting. To enable practical actions, the group explored three tools and practice to measure the carbon performance of underwriting portfolios, to evaluate the insured company’s transition pathway and to assess an insurer’s own capacity to manage net zero alignment. Areas for industry, market, research and policy improvements and innovation to facilitate net zero underwriting actions are identified in the report. 

Insurers in Paris-aligned climate transition: Practical actions towards net zero underwriting. (2021)



Climate product innovation

This paper explores the critical role of the insurance underwriting in enabling the transition of the wider economy towards decarbonisation. Opportunities to incentivise climate mitigation and support the growth of low carbon solutions exist in the design and pricing of policies, claims and the provision of risk advisory services. The industry needs to rapidly lean in to meet the existing risk transfer and advisory needs of clients’ decarbonisation pathways, to anticipate their evolving demands and needs and incentivise their transition.

Climate product innovation within the insurance sector (2021)





Investing for resilienceInvesting for Resilience (2016)

Investing for Resilience explores how the insurance industry can help to enhance investments in resilience. It focuses both directly, on insurer’s own investment activities, and how the industry can positively influence the financial markets more broadly. It highlights the need for a standardised resilience rating tool.

Investing for Resilience (2016)





Global Insurer Statement

ClimateWise, with The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), developed a joint statement in response to the IPCC 5th Assessment Report, supporting analysis that the effects of global warming are aggravating risk globally. The statement has become the foundation for supporting widespread action in response to society’s necessary transition to a zero-carbon, climate-resilient future.

Global insurance industry statement

Considering climate risk and opportunities for investment framework




Sustainable claims guidance

Launched at the 2012 Association of British Insurers’ Property Conference, this guidance document outlined a process to reduce the environmental impact of domestic property claims, applicable to all types of business.

Sustainable claims management report
Sustainable claims guidance