As an internationally operating reinsurer, we transact all lines of property & casualty and life & health reinsurance worldwide. Our products and services help to ensure that risks to society and the environment can be adequately insured and that adverse effects in the event of loss or damage can be rectified or mitigated. At its very heart, the business of insurance involves cushioning the burden caused by loss events and providing financial protection for companies and private individuals alike through the transfer and spreading of risks.
The further expansion of sustainable reinsurance solutions and stepping up of our cooperation with primary insurers are goals defined in our Sustainability Strategy 2018 – 2020.
In the context of our materiality process we identified the issue of sustainable insurance solutions as material.
As a reinsurer, i.e. a provider of business-to-business services, with few exceptions we have no direct contact with end consumers. As a general principle, then, our business activities do not create direct access to financial services. Through our range of products we nevertheless indirectly help many people to access insurance protection. Indeed, it is frequently only thanks to internationally operating reinsurers that primary insurers are even in a position to cover large individual risks and those associated with natural perils. We thus help to boost insurance density not only in mature markets but also in emerging and developing countries, and we contribute to social and financial inclusion. Furthermore, we assist both established and young insurance companies with the cost-intensive acquisition of new business and with increasing insurance density.
We support sustainable insurance solutions designed to minimise adverse environmental and social impacts on society. They range from the expansion of renewable energy sources through the reinsurance of bodily injuries and property damage to protection against natural catastrophe events.
Insurance solutions such as microinsurance and agricultural covers contribute to social development and the protection of the population – including in structurally deprived regions. These solutions ensure that even people with scant financial means are able to protect themselves against basic risks such as sickness, disability, the consequences of natural disasters or crop failures. We also participate actively in the development of index-based disaster finance concepts that guarantee prompt financial aid for countries in South America and Asia in the event of a natural disaster.
We have supported the transformation process in the energy industry through our increased underwriting of risks deriving from regenerative or alternative sources for a number of years now. In property and casualty reinsurance we facilitate the expansion of renewables ranging from onshore and offshore wind power to photovoltaic and geothermal energy. At the same time, we play our part in minimising adverse impacts. Our underwriting guidelines are revised regularly to reflect the latest developments. In April 2019 we took a conscious decision with respect to stand-alone risks that – as a general principle – we will no longer provide reinsurance coverage for any planned new coal-fired power plants or coal mines. Only in countries where coal accounts for a particularly large share of the energy mix and sufficient access to alternative energy sources is not available will a limited number of exceptions be permitted after review of the technical standards. Furthermore, we are aiming for a phased exit such that by the year 2038 we no longer cover any coal-based risks in connection with power generation in our entire property and casualty reinsurance portfolio.
In property and casualty reinsurance we attach the utmost importance to minimising adverse environmental effects as well as to improving financial inclusion and increasing resilience worldwide. On the one hand, with these goals in mind we support environmental products such as aquaculture insurance as well as insurance solutions to promote renewable energy sources and carbon sequestration techniques. On the other hand, we also participate in socially oriented products such as index-based Disaster finance concepts to assist countries at short notice in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters as well as micro- and agricultural insurance solutions in developing and emerging countries. While no monetary investments in infrastructure are made, the implications of our insurance solutions for infrastructure projects – for example with respect to property and liability risks – are nevertheless considerable.
Demand for the insurance and reinsurance of agricultural land and livestock continues to grow, especially in view of a steadily increasing global population and the associated rising need for agricultural commodities and food as well as the negative effects of climate change – e.g. extreme weather events. Insuring agricultural production is particularly important for the development of poor regions in developing and emerging countries. In addition to protecting against variations in yield, a number of positive socioeconomic factors play a role here. These include, among other things, the possibility for insured farmers to be able to invest more easily in agricultural and non-agricultural business sectors and hence contribute to stability in rural areas. Against this backdrop, for example, the InsuResilience initiative of the G7 nations launched at the instigation of the German federal government has set itself the goal of offering insurance protection against climate risks to millions of especially poor and at-risk individuals in developing countries by the year 2020. In Europe, too, the unusually dry summer prompted discussions around the subject of crop insurance. The increasing expansion of public-private partnerships presents new opportunities for our company to write profitable business in markets that have still to mature. We are already supporting selected projects currently being conducted as part of this initiative that are intended to strengthen the resilience of various countries. The growing availability of new technologies, such as remote sensing by satellites, will enable us to further enlarge our scope of business through innovative and efficient insurance products. These include, for example, parametric covers under which the insurance benefit is dependent not on an actual loss but rather on an objectively measurable criterion (e.g. quantities of precipitation). In 2017 we wrote premium in the mid-triple-digit millions (EUR) in the area of agricultural risks, with around three-quarters of the total amount coming from developing and emerging markets in South America, Asia and Africa.
On the life and health reinsurance side we are primarily concerned with the issues of digitalisation and demographic transition. In the area of longevity products we are tackling the trend towards a rising life expectancy with our range of enhanced annuities. Through the online sale of life insurance products as well as our active support for health business on markets with inadequate healthcare provision, we contribute to social and financial inclusion and increase insurance density on a number of markets. Furthermore, we promote insureds' healthy living through holistic lifestyle insurance concepts and in South Africa, for example, we support a primary insurer that enables its customers to invest part of the premium for charitable purposes when they purchase an insurance policy.