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Calm before the Storm

Sep 11, 2022

The Journal, Chartered Insurance Institute: September 9, 2022

https://thejournal.cii.co.uk/2022/09/09/calm-storm

Delighted to co-author this think piece with the brilliant Zaneta Sedilekova. London based biodiversity and climate risk lawyer. she is the Founding Managing Director of Climate Law Lab Ltd.

We analyse the role that climate liability risk can play in shaping the insurance industry. We look at the main trends in climate litigation against corporates, and its impact on the insurance jargon, wordings and investment outlook. We conclude with some practical suggestions on how climate liability risk can be mitigated on both underwriting and portfolio levels.

Zaneta’s work entails strong focus on risks and opportunities climate and biodiversity crises present to the financial system as well as individual decision-makers. “Most importantly”, as she puts it “I help clients turn these risks into opportunities for their business and wider stakeholders”.

“If we don’t do everything right, that “near to two degrees” will actually be nearer three degrees Celsius, which is five or six degrees Fahrenheit, which is a world where civilizations won’t be able to function in the ways we’re used to them functioning. That civilizational breakdown – a political and human phenomenon, not a scientific one – could come sooner; we don’t know where the civilizational red lines are, only that we’re close”. Warns ecologist and activist Bill McKibben. That would surely redline much of what insurers do!

Very dark times

“We face dark times. Very dark times. All of us… What is coming is especially difficult for those under 40 or 50 years old. They have never experienced this level of adversity that is hitting their ways of life, homeland, communities, and all they take for granted… Closing eyes and a belief that somehow, we can ignore what is fast overwhelming us are simply not options. Highlights Nik Gowing – Founder & Co-Author, Thinking the Unthinkable.

UK-based litigation funders have amassed record war chests to finance the growing interest in class action law suits, according to a new study by RPC. Litigation funders’ assets jumped 11% last year to hit £2.2bn, almost double the £1.3bn that had been built up in 2017/18 and a more than ten-fold increase over the past decade… This is a game changer for GC, Companies. Boards and Law Firms and is not filing anywhere but up.

“I approve of the idea of class action law firms and litigation funding as they do something towards creating equality of arms which is critical to the Rule of Law”. Observes the renowned Prof Paul Watchman.

Insurers with fossil fuel fixation, affinity for biodiversity destroyers and purveyors of pollution – wouldn’t be taking their loss reserves and all the attendant greed of executive rem and board rewards for granted too long. If only they start following what lies in store. A lip service to NetZero Insurers Alliance (NZIA) is a farce and only hastens the encounter with the “very dark times’’.

“Nature merely sends warnings, then consequences… no judgements. The four Horsemen of our impending Apocalypse – ignorance, arrogance avarice and apathy – are in full gallop today”. Thank you Bittu Sahgal, you couldn’t be louder and clearer!

For those seriously wishing to follow what next, please do track Zaneta’s work. The rest might as well enjoy the calm before the storm!

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