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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The insurance industry has an array of data and expertise that can help it to uniquely understand climate risk. It can therefore play an important role in supporting the broader financial sector to fully understand, and respond to the physical, transition and liability risks associated with climate change. The objective is to identify how changes to the regulatory environment can empower insurance to support the transition to a zero carbon, climate-resilient economy more broadly across financial markets.

This regulatory research pillar is directly informed by the Insurance Advisory Council. The Council’s objective is to help strengthen insurance industry support for regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders as they consider how to promote more systematic responses to climate change across the financial system.


Policy opportunities

This research showcases the critical role of insurance underwriting in mitigating climate risks and in stewarding the transition to a net zero and resilient economy. Recognising the importance of strong leadership of the UK as President of COP 26 and the G7 in 2021, the paper focuses on the UK’s potential to lead and influence global policy, and serves as a springboard for further ClimateWise engagement and specification of insurance industry opportunities.

Policy opportunities on the road to net zero underwriting (2021)




Insurance regulation and policy for COP26

Our report ‘Insurance systems for the climate decade’ will address the question of how can insurance systems and their regulation contribute to the urgent, global and just transition to resilient, net-zero economies. We will explore this question with insurance transformative thinking at the heart of the financial system with the aim of providing actionable recommendations for COP26 and beyond.

Authors: Dr Ana Gonzalez Pelaez (CISL Fellow), Mr Nigel Brooks (Partner, Clyde & Co) and Mr Geoff Summerhayes (Senior Advisor, Pollination).

Insurance Regulation report

Insurance regulation for sustainable development (2015)

This study assesses the role insurance regulation should play in protecting the basic human rights of life, livelihood and shelter against natural hazards and climate risk. It found that effective insurance regulation greatly facilitates improved access to both traditional and alternative insurance cover. This, in turn, helps to increase the resilience of communities, fulfil the human rights objectives of both state and non-state actors and contributes to realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals more broadly.

Insurance regulation for sustainable development (2015)




Building resilience in underinsured markets

This study surveyed existing insurance schemes across the developing world and highlighted how the focus of the industry remained on risk transfer, rather than risk reduction. Analysis indicated that incorporating risk reduction into insurance schemes, even if there is not direct causality, can create better outcomes for economic development and the commercial viability of insurance.

Building resilience in underinsured markets

Global insurance statement on adapting to climate change in developing countries