Sus­tain­abil­i­ty as a key ob­jec­tive of the in­sur­ance in­dus­try

The Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) has made the sustainability of its own activities a strategic focal point. This move comes not only because the insurance industry is one of the key forces driving the Swiss economy, but because sustainability has always been part of the DNA of the insurance business. This is why the SIA is making a targeted and publicly visible commitment with expertise founded on many years of experience – for the benefit of Switzerland and the insurance industry alike.

Although there are numerous definitions and interpretations of sustainability, essentially it compensates for the effective consumption of resources, which requires true-cost pricing. With attention to sustainability at all stages in its value chain, the insurance industry can make a significant contribution to creation of a liveable environment, a more responsible society and a more stable economy. Sustainability is a task that can be tackled only if society, politics and business join forces. Individual responsibility and voluntary action should be at the forefront of this quest. Voluntary action is particularly effective if sustainability is in one’s own interest, as is the case in the insurance industry. The insurance business is long term by its very nature and is also heavily reliant on conditions at the business location, society and the climate.

The SIA defined 'sustainability' as a focal point of its Strategy 2020-2024. The following objectives can be derived from this:

  • A liveable environment, a stable economy and a safe society: The SIA aims to strengthen cooperation with policymakers, administrative authorities and other key stakeholders. This is intended to promote extensive social action on environmental, social and governance matters. Progress will be communicated on a regular basis to ensure transparency.

  • Guidelines for ESG criteria: The SIA wants to set out more specific ESG criteria in order to define recommendations for the insurance industry. It is developing courses for action in terms of products, underwriting, claims and investments, offering support to member companies and promoting the transfer of expertise.

  • Lower CO2 emissions and reduced global warming: The SIA is committed to contributing to an economy that is low in greenhouse gas emissions and resilient to climate change. It supports the federal government’s climate policy to achieve the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement.

  • Reduction of the consequences of global warming: The SIA evaluates risk factors relevant to the industry and their impact. In the field of natural hazard insurance, it promotes and supports prevention projects to protect against natural hazards. The SIA intends to work closely with the federal government and private investors as part of this process. Switzerland’s compliance with the Paris Agreement is a key element of this.

  • Enhanced pension provision and welfare: In the interests of sustainability, the SIA is committed to a pension scheme based on a three-pillar system that remains sustainable and functional for future generations. Similarly, private supplementary health insurance, daily sickness benefit and accident insurance must be preserved as elements of social sustainability and safeguarded through further development.