IUMI expands horizons to include ESG

By Hendrike Kühl, IUMI Policy Director

A recent McKinsey survey shows that a growing number of executives believe sustainability programmes make a positive contribution to their companies’ short- and long-term value. This new thinking along with the increasing importance placed on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations by the general public as well as institutional investors has led to a realisation that ESG factors have not only a positive impact on the corporate culture but often also on the bottom line.

The results of IUMI’s membership survey on ESG matters shows a similar desire by our members to expand IUMI’s role as an educator and facilitator for ESG issues (see Richard Turner’s, IUMI President article). Over 90% of the respondents said that they are already doing a moderate amount or even a lot of work on sustainability. 65% view ESG topics on IUMI’s agenda to be very important or extremely important and would like us to spend more time and effort on such issues. Over 70% felt merely somewhat or not very well informed about ESG issues. An equal number of respondents would therefore like IUMI to raise awareness and inform its members about ESG topics with a specific marine insurance angle.

The mandate for IUMI to include ESG issues on its agenda could not have been clearer. This view was also reflected in the discussion of the Executive Committee and the Technical Committee chairs who met in London on 10-11 February. There was broad agreement that sustainability related topics shall be addressed. However, any work done and any issues addressed need to be based on a tangible approach with concrete outcomes. The response to the question “Which specific topics with an ESG angle should IUMI become involved in” revealed four priorities:

  • Arctic sailings
  • Autonomous/unmanned transport
  • Fuel quality and new fuel types
  • Ship recycling

Interestingly, the first three issues are already included in IUMI’s Policy Agenda and work on those topics is already underway. The fourth priority on “ship recycling” is a point in case to prove that raising awareness, for instance at the IUMI annual conference, is an important factor to inform our members of ESG topics directly relevant to marine insurers. At the IUMI 2019 conference in Toronto, Ingvild Jenssen from the NGO “Shipbreaking Platform” gave an insightful presentation about problems in the ship scrapping industry and how marine insurers may be impacted.

The decision of IUMI’s Executive Committee to apply for the role of supporting institution of the UN Environment Programme's Principles for Sustainable Insurance (UNEP PSI) cements IUMI’s readiness to raise awareness amongst our membership for relevant sustainability issues with a tangible impact on marine insurers.  

IUMI will embark further into the topics as requested by the membership and decided by the IUMI Executive Committee. IUMI will stay in close contact with its members and IUMI officers in order to ensure that our activities match with the memberships’ demands, and with practical requirements and circumstances in the markets. IUMI won’t prejudice any opinion building or decision making on member association or company level.