Climate Risk and Resilience
Insurance has a vital role to play in the future of our planet
Climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, energy transition, poverty and inequality all need big ideas, superhuman efforts - and the investment capital to match.
Forward-thinking organisations all over the world are looking to adjust their businesses models. To find ways to be greener, fairer and more sustainable.
Insurance has an enormous role in this seismic shift: helping manage the risks, instilling confidence, building resilience and unlocking capital to support game-changing projects.
The race to respond to climate change is on. All businesses need to contribute, and Howden are contributing what we do best: outside the box thinking to create valuable risk transfer solutions.
Three examples of how we are tackling climate change
Enabling the transition towards a low carbon economy
Projects to support the transition to clean energy are expensive. There are often significant barriers to financing them.
We help remove financial roadblocks that many sustainable energy projects inevitably face. Smart use of credit insurance can play the same role as a well-respected early investor would: raising the level of confidence around the project and the security of the investment.
Transforming disaster relief funding models
Humanitarian organisations are, by and large, facing a funding crisis. The UN reports that the disaster relief funding gap in 2020 was nearly $20bn.
Our response is to create risk transfer products to insure things that would have never been insurable previously. With our 'catastrophe bonds' organisations can effectively pre-fund disaster relief, delivering finance into disaster zones faster than was ever possible before.
Increasing confidence in carbon offsets
Buying carbon offsets is mandated for some industries, and optional for others (for now).
There can be a risk of them being invalidated during audits – Howden is the first broker to design insurance protection against this, working with energy companies in the regulated California market.
Working with the key players in driving change
- Humanitarian organisations
- Altruistic foundations
- Corporate and private charitable donors
- Renewable energy companies
- Power & Energy companies transitioning to greener sources
- Hedge funds, asset managers and private equity
- Brokers & other intermediaries
New ways of thinking about financial risk transfer
Howden offers a range of ground-breaking opportunities for ESG projects.
But for us, they are not so new. These innovations are simply moving the dial by applying longstanding, tried-and-tested techniques of financial risk transfer to the most important challenges of our time.
We're taking the traditional techniques of financial risk transfer, and turning them into something new and highly valuable to ESG projects
What we're doing
Our Climate Risk and Resilience team combines creativity, a passion for ESG, and deep experience of the inner workings of the insurance and financial markets.
Curbing global warming is a daunting task. To hit the 1.5°C target, entire industries will need rethinking. And wherever major change is happening, insurance has a big part to play.
Connecting sustainable energy projects with untapped investment capital
Green energy projects often struggle to raise sufficient investment capital to make a real go of it.
The backing of the insurance markets can change all that, as early investor returns can be guaranteed with the innovative use of credit insurance.
Howden is making that happen - we're currently working with green energy facilities in Europe.
Unlocking funds for disaster relief to increase the speed and impact of response
Many of the disasters that humanitarian organisations hold reserve funds for can be insured, using a blend of parametric payment triggers and the insurance industry's usual way of hedging major risks: catastrophe bonds. This allows humanitarian organisations to keep significantly less capital tied up in reserve and get funds into disaster zones faster.
The other great benefit is the financial multiplier effect: every £1 of funding translates into up to £20 of actual aid delivered.
Howden is the world’s first insurance broker to offer this. See our case study below, The Red Cross’ Volcano Bond.
Insuring carbon offsets to guarantee their value
Another world first, Howden enables organisations to insure their purchased carbon offsets against human error, negligence and fraud throughout the global supply chain. This could be on the part of an employee, the carbon project, the broker or the reselling intermediary.
If an audit reveals carbon offsets are suddenly downgraded or even worthless, our insurance products will fund rapid replacement, keeping you within any regulatory requirements and protecting your reputation from any media fallout. And most importantly, it ensures that the project you are backing is actually capable of absorbing your carbon production.
We are currently working with energy providers in the regulated US market, with a product for the voluntary carbon offset market coming soon.
How we helped the Red Cross with a disaster relief bond
Nearly 500 million people globally live near an active volcano. The Danish Red Cross uses a catastrophe bond, based on a parametric trigger mechanism, to release capital swiftly to mitigate a potential humanitarian disaster.
10 volcanoes are covered: in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala, Indonesia and Cameroon.
The parametric claims trigger relates to volcanic ash and prevailing winds. When they reach pre-agreed parameters, indicating populous areas are under threat, funds are immediately paid to the Danish Red Cross, who can then move quickly to get the aid where it is needed.
Howden Group, with other industry partners, have pioneered this with the Red Cross, and our foundation provided funding to launch the first issue. We are developing more opportunities for the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations, to help make their financial resources go further using leverage in the financial markets.
Climate in Peril: download our latest report
We're calling on the risk transfer industry to change insurance for (social) good. Our latest report analyses the science of climate change, the impact on loss frequency/severity, and the power of insurance in incentivising ‘better’ behaviours through an ESG lens.
Meet the team
Head of Climate Risk and Resilience, Climate Risk and Resilience
Charlie brings over 25 years’ experience in the insurance market. Most of his career has been focused on financial institutions, designing risk transfer products across a wide range of disciplines. He is known for building new teams and capabilities with the aim of demonstrating how insurance can be used to help deal with the problems of tomorrow.
Associate Director, Climate Change and Resilience, Climate Risk and Resilience
Prior to joining Howden, Stuart was an emerging markets fixed income investment specialist at J.P. Morgan, where he helped establish the firm's first emerging markets debt sustainable fund. Before that, he was a research analyst in J.P. Morgan's Climate Risk team. Stuart has an honours degree from the University of Bristol and is a former Royal Navy officer.
Head of Energy Transformation
Stanley joined Howden from Swiss Re, where he spent 30 years as a property underwriter, specialising in energy, natural resources and complex risks. Most recently, he spent six years in Singapore as Head Property & Specialty Asia Pacific.
His holistic view of the energy and natural resources industries, and understanding of emerging trends, helps us ensure we are supporting the projects that will make a real impact in delivering a sustainable transformation.
Account Executive, Climate Risk and Resilience
Victoria has worked for Howden for 5 years and been part of the Climate Change Resilience Team since its inception. As well as supporting clients, she also contributes to product innovation projects, delivering product research and proposals. Victoria is well on the way to completing her Chartered Institute of Insurance qualifications, having already completed her Certificate in Insurance. Victoria also holds an honours degree from the University of East Anglia.
Account Executive, Climate Risk and Resilience
Tom joined as part of their graduate scheme in autumn 2019, working in the reinsurance and financial lines teams. He did a six-month secondment to the Department for International Trade where he worked in their insurance and climate resilience team, helping to drive campaigns and engage with the insurance sector. Tom holds an honours degree from the University of Bristol and a master's degree from the London School of Economics.