Majority of Dutch insurers lack climate change policy
According to their latest report on benchmark responsible investment by Dutch insurance companies in 2019, 14% included climate change in general terms but have not followed it up with specific action. Out of those firms that have acted, 17% included climate change and specifically addressed physical or transition risks while 14% included all this and their mandate consisted of ‘being part of the solution’.
In terms of overall performance, benchmark results indicate massive discrepancies between the top and bottom performers, while average score remained at 1.56, indicating the need for significant improvement.
Governance seems to be the ESG factor receiving the least attention. Among the respondents, 59% of the companies held the board accountable for their responsible investing (RI) policy. However, only 21% of the insurance companies set sustainability goals for their asset managers and a mere 14% evaluate and monitor the progress. The study revealed that 58% of the policyholders are not consulted on RI.
The most popular method of integration seems to be exclusion (86%), followed by engagement (55%). When it came to voting, 55% of the insurance companies hold a position in the publicly listed companies they invest in, influencing policies through voting at shareholder meetings. Impact investments were carried out by 41% of the institutional investors.
When it came to ESG integration, there was largely a basic value alignment where ESG information is used in an elementary form – for example, requiring asset managers to be signatories of RI guidelines. Fewer companies had a nuanced and proactive approach, using ESG information in a structured manner while only a small percentage used it as an in-depth and comprehensive yardstick.