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Riskier Times ahead for the Risk Carrying Business

Published in Bimaquest, September 2021

“I believe there are gender balance issues in the leadership team of the COP26, what is more problematic to me is the lack of representation of women from low-income countries.”

A month prior the COP26 in Glasgow, Benedicte Herbout started cycling the 2000 kilometers from Munich to Glasgow. Trying to raise awareness about climate emergency. French by birth – Benedicte lives in Munich. With 3+ years of experience in development finance, she is an independent environmental & social (E&S) management consultant. She answers my questions whilst enroute.

Praveen Gupta: Are there enough women at the COP 26 leadership, in your opinion?

Benedicte Herbout: To be completely transparent, I had not even really checked before you asked me. I just took for granted that it won’t be many, and in fact it is not. I would have been positively surprised if it had been the case though. Fact is, the COP is structured to represent all the parties – a majority of which don’t manage to reach gender equalities in their own countries.

What does comfort me (a little) is that the advisory team seems to be balanced – and in the end, advisors are often listened to. However, while I believe there are gender balance issues in the leadership team of the COP26, what is more problematic to me is the lack of representation of women from low-income countries. Women are suffering the most from climate change, low-income countries will suffer the most from climate change and so women in low-income countries are on the front line. Are they being listened to? I doubt it – we don’t even listen to the (wealthier) (male) scientists.

In addition to low-income countries’ women, we miss the youth too. They/we (I’m 27) are living and will live the consequences of years of inactions. We need to adapt and fight to avoid the worst and adaptation strategies need to take into considerations the views of the most affected. I fear the COPs are just meetings where the elite talk a lot – empty words otherwise we would have seen the difference.

Maybe, maybe, if the leadership of COPs were made of people who can’t fly away from climate change, things would change, action would follow. So I am bit unsure about to answer in the end. I am frustrated that one still asks this question – it should be given, so we can focus our energy on listening to who will suffer the most and act consequently.

I just want to popularise climate science and make people aware that we in Europe are highly privileged, and blind to consequences that climate change have on all of us, affecting some more. Listening to science is the first step to act.

PG: Why is it critical to have their voice?

BH: What is critical to me is not only this representation of youth, women, low-income countries balance. What is critical is that so many of us don’t really understand climate change. I mean the scientific mechanisms behind it. There is no climate education curriculum that tells you how all this works and why and that hinders any action. One can’t solve a problem if one does not understand it.

That is why I am cycling to the COP26 and facilitate Climate Fresk workshop on the way. While many ask whether it is also to make a point as a solo traveler woman, I actually never thought of it that way. I just want to popularise climate science and make people aware that we in Europe are highly privileged, and blind to consequences that climate change have on all of us, affecting some more. Listening to science is the first step to act, which then makes clear that we need to act all together. For the youth, for the low-income people, for the women. 

On the way from Munich to Glasgow I will be facilitating Climate Fresk workshops which aim at training participants on the fundamentals of climate science. During the COP26 in Glasgow the story will continue. Together with other Climate Fresk volunteers we will advocate for climate education as a lever for action.

PG: What are you eventually trying to achieve?

BH: My goal? Re-unite people from different political and economic backgrounds behind science, so that climate change can be treated with a common scientific understanding and solutions pragmatically debated and implemented.

PG: Happy cycling and may you realise your dream, Benedicte!

Combating Challenges in the emerging Insurance Scenarios: Climate Change Risks.

Honoured to chair a very stimulating panel discussion, earlier this evening. Delighted that BIMTECH considered evolving the Natural Catastrophe forum into a #ClimateChange theme and the esteemed panel was in concurrence to call it what has now become a full blown #ClimateCrisis! Hoping that this will metamorphose into a standalone event, soonest.


Dr. Aurélie Mendoza Spinola has a PhD in Public Law. Her current research interests are human rights in environmental matters, climate change and Small Islands Developing States, with a focus on the South-West region of the Indian Ocean. Aurélie recently directed and published a special issue on climate justice in the Revue Juridique de l’Ocean Indien.

Coming from Reunion Island & living in Mauritius, Aurélie is intensely sensitive to the fact that: “We are going to see a lot more serious disasters striking us in the future. We have to keep in mind that rising sea levels will have huge impacts on tourism, a pillar of our islands’ economies. It is, therefore, imperative to reinforce the existing legal framework all together with the adaptation projects on the ground. We must not forget that not only material damages can occur but that down the line people’s lives are at stake.”


”Last year, the British COP26 host team found itself in trouble for not addressing gender imbalances in politics when announcing an all-man team. Women involved were to be working at a more junior level on subsections of the negotiations. This created a wave of indignation and more than 400 women in international leadership denounced it”, tells me Aurélie . #SheChangesClimate stood for inclusivity, transparency and accountability to the COP negotiations on the climate crisis, campaigning for a #5050Vision, reminds the jurist. Even though (little) measures to rectify the situation have been taken, the whole story brings shadows on the ability of the UK to truly stand up to the spirit and challenges of climate change, which, in return, doesn’t sound very appealing nor hopeful for the outcome of the COP, she believes.

The ugly truth

This faux pas might sound like an epiphenomenon, but it appears unfortunately as a lieu commun, and even more so as a painful truth. The lack of representation of women in the climate negotiations is paradoxical and unfair, particularly when one considers the importance of women on the ground. Indeed, women are change agents: they identify what must be done and can take necessary measures to make it happen. Moreover, they are the first to be directly and seriously affected by climate change and they are far more at risk. This message from Aurélie is a reinforcement of what the other women leaders have been saying again and again.

The IUCN study “Gender-based violence and environment linkages: the violence of inequality” from 2020 shows how the degradation of nature has a complex linkage with gender-based violence, she highlights. Their integration in the climate processes represents chances of success and will ensure fair decision making. Despite these facts and arguments, we notice that women are still not represented enough in high-level circles. During the 2019 COP25, only 21% of the 196 heads of delegations were women. Yet, diversity is the way forward if we’re ought to achieve the climate targets, let alone to stay truthful the Paris Agreement’s spirit! One legitimately may ask: is justice so blind? Well…Not quite, believes Aurélie.

What does the legal framework do about it?

Indeed, the actual legal framework is not bare on gender considerations. Women participation and representation in the negotiations process is a concern since 2001 (see namely decisions 36/CP.7, 1/CP.16, 23/CP.18 of the COP). Although rather poorly equipped on the matter, The Paris Agreement (PA) recognises the need for gender equality and empowerment of women under the scope of human rights in its Preamble. Articles 7 and 11, as well as the Katowice Climate Package also contain references to capacity-building and gender-responsive adaptation action, she opines.   

In fact, a cornerstone has been established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when the Lima Work Programme on Gender (LWPG) was established and extended by the COP (see Decision 18/CP.20 & Decision 1/CP.21), shortly followed by the first gender action plan (GAP, see decision 21/CP.22). Considering the need to address the challenge, COP25 adopted the enhanced five-year LWPG and its GAP (see Decision 3/CP.25), which aims “to advance knowledge and understanding of gender-responsive climate action and its coherent mainstreaming in the implementation of the UNFCCC” at all levels, reminds Aurélie.

The UNFCCC Secretariat publishes an annual report on gender and climate change to assist the Parties in tracking their progress. The last report unveils a slight improvement, asserting that “the representation of women in Party delegations increased by 9 per cent and among heads and deputy heads of Party delegations by 12 per cent”. Unfortunately, it also points out that “Despite these increases, women remain the minority, representing 49 per cent of Party delegates and 39 per cent of heads and deputy heads of Party delegations.” She alludes to the Report by the secretariat (FCCC/CP/2021/4, 20 August 2021, p.8. available online).

Human Rights Based Approach, next?

While the data shows that the situation is not as gloomy as it seems to be, however, perseverance and determination are more than needed to become structural. This is the real challenge. Of course, actions can be taken to ensure strict equality, but I believe we must address the problem in a sensible manner and see the big picture. This is the reason why a human rights-based approach (HRBA) perfectly makes sense and should be at the very core of all law-making processes in environmental matters. HRBA allows decision making to consider a broad variety of interests while keeping an alert eye on vulnerable groups that need specific attention, is her prescription. If everything is interconnected, inclusivity must be the pathway to achieve climate goals, SDG’s, and human rights. Aurélie concludes with a quote from one of her favourite authors – Victor Hugo – “To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better.” Such pearls have got to come from a woman leader!

“I do think having more women involved, both in the insurance sector and in the context of COP26, would be beneficial”.

Hoping for a world in which financial institutions use their influence to actively contribute to society’s goals, Sonia Hierzig joined ShareAction in September 2015. She is currently Head of Financial Sector Research and leads ShareAction’s work to assess and rank investors’ and banks’ sustainable finance performance. She previously worked at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and studied at the University of Exeter, The London School of Economics, and the Open University. In her spare time, Sonia can often be found in a dance class or at the gym. Here are her candid answers to some existential issues that insurers need to urgently address.

Praveen Gupta: Insurers have a responsibility to ensure that their decisions do not contribute to the very risks they are insuring against. They have a responsibility to protect people and planet. However, are ensuring they are not fuelling future climate changes?

Sonia Hierzig: Insurers indeed should have a responsibility to ensure that their business activities do not fuel climate change – after all, it is a risk that could cost the industry billions. A recent report by Swiss Re predicts that climate risks could add over USD 180 billion by 2040 for property insurance costs alone.

Considering this, it is baffling that most insurance companies still seem happy to invest in companies or provide insurance for projects that continue to fuel this crisis. Insure Our Future’s most recent scorecard on insurance, fossil fuels and climate change found that particularly insurers in the US, East Asia and the Lloyd’s market continue to support this sector with few restrictions – despite its clear incompatibility with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

There is a clear inconsistency here. Even if an insurer is not convinced by the moral argument of doing the ‘right’ thing and has little interest in the impact its business activities are having on people and planet, there should still be a very clear financial incentive to act – yet, this is still not taken seriously by many insurers.

PG: In your recent report ranking the world’s 70 largest insurers, you found them seriously wanting. Almost half of the insurers surveyed received the lowest rating?

SH: This is right, 46 per cent of the insurers we surveyed were rated ‘E’. This means that evidence suggests poor management of material risks and opportunities linked to the topics we assessed, including climate change, biodiversity, and human rights. Although there were also some insurers that performed better, not a single one was placed in the top two categories (‘AAA’ or ‘AA’), which shows that even the leaders still have much room for improvement.

There is some reason for hope though: overall, insurers performed best in our questions on ‘Governance’. Many are starting to put in place the right structures internally that should then enable them to improve their performance on various thematic areas; for example, by linking executive remuneration to climate- or wider sustainability-related targets, allocating clear responsibility to board members and providing adequate training and resources. We also found that 13 per cent of analysed insurers have made some kind of net-zero commitment.

This is positive and things are going into the right direction, but the concern remains that all of this is still happening far too slowly, and that we are running out of time. On climate change in particular, the time for adjusting governance structures and making big long-term promises on net-zero really was yesterday, and we need insurers now to jump straight into action.

PG: Do you see any marked contrast between the underwriting and investment policies of the insurers studied by you?

SH: Yes, there was quite a contrast. Performance on investment is generally better than on underwriting for insurers with a P&C business. We found this quite surprising, considering it is the core role of the insurance industry to manage uncertainty and thus enable their clients to take greater risks than they perhaps otherwise would. One might expect that the types of systemic risks we explored would be an essential part of the analysis that feeds into development and pricing of products. This does not appear to be the case – instead, insurers’ approach in terms of their investment activities is more advanced.

One reason for this might be that insurers have been able to learn from other asset owners and asset managers how to incorporate ESG issues into investment decisions and have benefitted from the general mainstreaming of sustainable finance, while the underwriting side requires a much more insurance-centric approach.

PG: Are you enthused by the creation of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA)?

SH: Well, considering the relative lack of progress on the underwriting side, this new Net-Zero Insurance Alliance indeed seems like good news. More focus on underwriting activities is sorely needed. Generally, I think the willingness among financial institutions to collaborate and share knowledge on sustainable finance issues is quite commendable.

I am, however, a little bit cautious and don’t want to be too jubilant just yet: so far, the initiative has mainly set ambitious targets, but many questions remain around how they will be implemented. From our conversations with insurers, it seems obvious that no one yet clearly knows what it means to be a net-zero underwriter, and the Alliance leaves much to the signatory companies’ discretion. So, as usual with such initiatives, the proof will be in the pudding.

PG: How are insurers performing on the Environmental Societal and Governance (ESG) scale?

SH: Climate change is definitely the slightly more established topic, while consideration of other ESG issues is still relatively nascent. Some insurers have started to consider human rights, with just under a third now having some kind of human and/or labour rights policy. We hope that more insurers will start to follow this trend: so far, most of the world’s largest insurers still show severe negligence of their impact on human and labour rights.

The least well-covered topic of those included in our survey was biodiversity. The vast majority of assessed insurers have not yet developed an approach to managing nature-related risks to their portfolios and show little understanding of how their investment and underwriting activities are affecting, or may be affected by, the biodiversity crisis. This topic has close linkages with climate change, and so we hope the fact that more is being done on climate, as well as the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity, will increase insurers’ awareness of this issue and inspire action.

PG: How can regulations be made more conducive to facilitate the desired transition?

SH: At ShareAction, we actually recently published a briefing which explains what policymakers can do, particularly within the context of the EU and the upcoming review of Solvency II. In particular, we make seven key recommendations:

  1. Require a double materiality approach: considering both financially material sustainability risks (outside-in) and a company’s own sustainability impacts (inside-out) in financial decision-making.
  2. Clarify the new prudent person principle: make it clearer that sustainability risks should be considered as part of insurers’ fiduciary duties.
  3. Embed responsible stewardship practices: require stewardship policies, practices and reporting for investment and underwriting activities.
  4. Incorporate ‘impact underwriting’: requiring insurers to develop sustainability-related underwriting policies.
  5. Board oversight – ‘tone from the top’: requiring board-level oversight of the development and integration of the sustainability strategy.
  6. Strengthen reporting requirements: making the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) mandatory.
  7. Align prudential requirements with the high risks posed by unsustainable activities: particularly in relation to fossil fuel assets and policies that cover policyholders engaged in fossil fuel-related businesses.
I always think it’s quite telling that the finance sector in general is quite dominated by men, whereas, in the NGO-space, most organisations are either split quite equally or employ more women. This appears to indicate that women generally tend to care more about sustainability and making the world a better place.

PG: Do you expect any special focus on insurance at the forthcoming COP26?

SH: The insurance sector will definitely be a big topic. The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero – another net-zero alliance – includes many insurers, including the NZIA. As with other such initiatives, they’re also quite focused on commitments – although they do also have an element that is focused on technical collaboration on substantive and cross-cutting issues that will hopefully lead to some more practical and action-oriented next steps.

As we have seen with the large number of extreme weather events this year, including increasingly intense and devastating floods and wildfires, action cannot come too soon. As such, I really hope that this year’s COP serves as a wake-up call for all those insurers that still need one and encourage those insurers that are already acting to further increase their ambition.

PG: Your thoughts about women in leadership roles?

SH: There is definitely insufficient gender diversity at insurers at the moment, with only 25 per cent female representation at board level among the insurers we analysed. Slightly promising is that gender diversity is the second most common human rights-related engagement topic insurers raise with investee companies – although that is still only done by 11 out of the 70 insurers.

I always think it’s quite telling that the finance sector in general is quite dominated by men, whereas, in the NGO-space, most organisations are either split quite equally or employ more women. This appears to indicate that women generally tend to care more about sustainability and making the world a better place – although of course there may be many other reasons for this difference in gender representation too.

Beyond my own subjective observations, there’s also some proper studies that have been done that appear to show that more women in leadership positions leads to positive outcomes: research has shown that strong growth among European companies is most likely to occur where there is a higher proportion of women in senior management teams. Companies with more women on their boards have also been found to outperform their rivals with a 42% higher return in sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity.

So in short, I do think having more women involved, both in the insurance sector and in the context of COP26, would be beneficial – although of course it would not be the only factor that could make a difference.

PG: Grateful for these first-hand insights, Sonia. Hoping that all your endeavours lead to a world in which financial institutions use their influence to actively contribute to society’s goals.


Jury Board Invitation: 3rd Edition Diversity & Inclusion Summit and Awards by Transformance!

“An attempt to challenge climate change with only men will be equivalent to fighting with half the resources”: COP26!

Close your eyes and a season will pass before you

had you the century’s gaze

of a coast live oak

It will not survive this, either

It sheds bark

breaks branch

Lovers’ carved symbols seeping their wound of sap”.

From Kristen George Bagdanov’s, Fossils in the Making***

Nishtha Singh currently works as senior manager at ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd. On weekends – she writes and researches on the 3Cs. Cyber Security & new technologies, Cryptocurrency and Climate risks. She also loves reading poetry. The title of the blog is her quote from  

Are there enough women in the COP26 leadership?

‘The numbers speak for themselves, tells me Nishtha. At the COP25 21% of the 196 heads of delegation were women. The Leadership team for COP26 consists of only15% women. The complete leadership team of host UK is male.’ Facing severe criticism – they have slightly amended the picture, by appointing two female directors (for Communications and Operations) and one female Champion (for Adaptation and Resilience). We need to see 50:50 vision at the negotiating table if this conference wants to be successful. The head of comms and operations won’t be at the negotiating table, as I understand.

The mammoth bureaucracies at the multilateral agencies operate in silos. ‘Since 2008, one of the main priorities of UNESCO, for instance, has been Gender Equality’, points out Nishtha. ‘They have been making sure gender equality is being promoted through their various activities as well as programmes. However, women across the world still have less access to proper education, employment, and basic resources. Gender equality and empowering women is also the main concern of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which is one of the 17 goals established by the UN in 2015’.

‘Equal participation and leadership of women in political and public life is crucial to achieve the SDGs by 2030. However, achieving gender parity is not something we can expect in next nine years, she warns, ‘if women are underrepresented in important platforms like COP26’.

What needs to be done?

It may already be too late as the conference commences on October 31, 2021. However, Nishtha is not losing hope. And here is her set of prescriptions:

  • ‘A gender-responsive outcome at the COP26 would assist in setting the standard for implementation of gender-responsive climate policy.
  • Policies of the UN promote gender balance but in addition, the UN can invest in gender action plans. It can help countries in developing comprehensive projects that are built on unique knowledge and perspective of women.
  • Set goal for COP27: 50% women in leadership team.
  • Identifying gender sensitive strategies for tackling environmental and humanitarian crisis caused by climate change. Studies show women are more vulnerable post natural disasters because they are usually at higher risk of being placed at overcrowded and unsafe shelters due to lack of assets, like property or savings.
  • Gender sensitive strategies will promote enlisting women in natural disaster management decision-making processes and make use of their skills in mitigation and adaptation efforts’.

‘Women and children are vulnerable to climate change. Gender Equality is a human rights principle and to ensure climate related issues are taken up effectively, it is important to have women in the leadership. Gender divisions in climate are a must to tackle climate change. It is essential to make sure women have equal resource and space as men to participate in climate change decision making at all levels.’

Quoting Women Watch, she says: ‘The active participation of women in the development of funding criteria and allocation of resources for climate change initiatives is critical, particularly at local levels. Gender analysis of all budget lines and financial instruments for climate change is needed to ensure gender-sensitive investments in programmes for adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and capacity building.’

Are we listening?

***These lines, as well as the endings of many of the poems in Fossils in the Making leave us feeling unsettled. The collection causes us to feel as though we were on the edge of catastrophe, biding time as we go about our daily lives – it returns not only to our mortality as individuals, but to our collective mortality as residents of a planet in distress’’. (Source:

“Air pollution is fatal; it can slash life expectancy of people living in North India by 9 years.”

My LinkedIn comment on this ET story:

As air quality deteriorates so will overall health of the people, demand for health insurance will surely grow. However, is upping premiums the only response insurers can provide? Would not insurers wish to introspect their role in raising the pollution levels by say insuring and investing in the #fossilfuels and other unsustainable businesses?

Indeed, insurers have a significant role and do some amazing things for the society at large. But this is truly ‘oxymoronic’ – that you aid and abet health conditions and then also insure them. And it is not just physical health. A latest study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry reveals exposure to air pollution leads to more severe mental illness (, We have most number of polluted cities and rank amongst the top three CO2 emitting countries, in the world. Btw, women and children are the most vulnerable of the lot. We are in the midst of a serious global #climatecrisis. Should this pass us by as just another news story?!

“The problem of women representation at COP 26 is a result of… the patriarchal nature of the society, gender stereotypes, lack of opportunity for women, pay gaps etc.”

Nimisha Srivastava is a lawyer by education, qualified to practice law in India. She has cumulative 3 years of work experience in the insurance regulatory and corporate commercial space. Presently she is on a journey to explore career alternatives, using the knowledge and skills acquired as a practicing lawyer. 

Strong pushback

‘The goal of gender balance is yet far from being achieved. Mere words on paper are not enough for achieving a gender balance at the COP meetings, rather systems and processes should be put in place to ensure that women get the requisite opportunities, training, support to be able to represent their concerns at the global decision-making spaces, emphasises Nimisha.

‘The problem of women representation at COP 26, is a result of a number of underlying issues, including emanating directly from the patriarchal nature of the society, gender stereotypes, lack of opportunity for women, pay gaps etc.’, she says.

Numbers speak

Nimisha beefs up the state of women representation at major United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) bodies, with some hard statistics.

‘In 2021, women represented 36% of the cumulative membership across all UNFCCC bodies, a mere increase of 1% from 2020. While, some committees have successfully achieved a gender balance, for instance the COP bureau, the Adaptation Committee, the Paris Committee on Capacity building, with women composing of at least 50% of the total membership, greater gender disparity remains in the constitution of other UNFCCC bodies. Here is a brief summary based on the gender composition data released by UNFCCC:

  • In 2021, the Advisory Board of the Climate Technology Centre and Network had only 5 women members (a decrease from 6 women members in 2019) out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021, the Compliance Committee Enforcement Branch had only 5 women members out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021, the Compliance Committee Facilitative Branch had only 4 women members out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021, the Consultative Group of Experts had only 6 women members (an increase from 5 women members in 2020) out of a total 24 members.
  • In 2021, the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism, had only 4 women members out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021, the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage had only 8 women members (a decrease from 9 women members in 2020) out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021, the Paris Agreement Committee on Implementation and Compliance has only 8 women members (a decrease from 9 women members in 2020) out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021 and 2020, the Standing Committee on Finance has only 6 women members (a decrease from 8 women members in 2019) out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021, the Technology Executive Committee has only 3 women members (a decrease from 4 and 6 women members in 2020 and 2019 respectively) out of a total 20 members.
  • In 2021 and 2020, the Paris Committee on Capacity-Building has only 6 women members (a decrease from 7 women members in 2019) out of a total 12 members.
  • In 2021, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group has only 6 women members (an increase from 4 members and 5 members in 2020 and 2019, respectively) out of total 13 members.

This clearly represents a lack of balance in gender representation at the most important climate change convention of the world. Further, the bodies on finance and tech have dismal representation of women, indicating a further problem of male dominance and stereotyping in the respective sectors.’

What needs to be done?

Here is a very clear headed diagnosis and the prescription from the budding lawyer: ‘The parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change during the COP 18 meeting in 2012, held in Doha, Qatar, agreed to a goal of gender balance in bodies under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. The parties also agreed to make an annual reporting on the progress towards achieving the goal of gender balance.

Gender Action Plan (GAP) under the Lima Work Program was instituted under COP 22. Parties noted the lack of progress made by delegations towards the 2012 goal of gender balance and prompted for the inclusion of gender within the climate policy using five priority areas. This includes capacity building, pursuing meaningful participation especially among indigenous and grassroots communities and effective monitoring and reporting mechanisms. The plan, however, lacks clear targets and indicators to adequately evaluate progress. Moreover, the Convention failed to set rules or implement guidelines, mandating representation of women.

The UNFCCC, therefore, urgently needs to ponder upon the failure of the delegations to achieve the gender balance and lay down stricter guidelines to ensure the delegations comply with the 2012 goal. Clearer benchmarks, reporting mechanisms and indicators laid down by UNFCCC will ensure that the participants have a positive obligation to take steps ensuring more women represent them at the COP meetings.’ Sincerely hoping that all concerned will act on the invaluable inputs and insights from the young leader.

Reducing exposure to oil and gas: The next environmental objective for insurers

Shedding fossil fuel portfolios by the Indian public sector life and non-life insurer/reinsurer: For the sake of rating, reputation, stock price and ESG expectations:

Some findings from SocGen:

‘While insurers (23 in all) have moved to end their underwriting of coal-related activities, they have been slow to act on oil and gas. That’s mainly because the insurance market for those fossil fuels is considerably larger, with estimated premiums of more than $17 billion in 2018, compared with $6 billion for coal power, said Peter Bosshard, program director at the Sunrise Project and global coordinator of Insure Our Future (IOF)’.

‘European insurers have shown their desire to combat global warming by exiting coal insurance and coal-related investments. Today, most of the major European insurers and reinsurers won’t touch new coal projects and have established clear roadmaps to fully exit coal. Consequently, coal companies are finding it more difficult and expensive to find coverage, with many reportedly facing rate increases of as much as 40%, according to the SocGen analysts’.

‘Reducing exposure to oil and gas has to be the next environmental objective for the insurance industry, said Nick Holmes, the London-based head of the insurance research team at Societe Generale‘.

Is this a writing on the wall for?

1. Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) given its imminent listing, by not investing in fossil fuels anymore, can it attract quality capital and achieve/maintain a strong listing price?

2. General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) and The New India Assurance Company Ltd. (the two listed public sector entities headed for privatisation) – despite all the challenges, can this eventually boost investor credibility?