General Insurance Article - Climate change could go beyond the capacity of insurance

Aon have interviewed former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as part of its Virtual Reinsurance Renewal Season.

  The goal of Aon’s fireside chats is to drive growth across the re/insurance industry in order to bring capital closer to clients’ needs and enable them to flourish in a stronger economy. The series will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing major re/insurers and insurance buyers, sharing both perspectives.

 Hosted by Andy Marcell, global CEO of Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions business, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt provided her views on a range of social and economic issues in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

 During the discussion, she urged governments worldwide “not to forget all we have learnt and simply return to the old normal, which didn’t always work.” Instead, the numerous challenges of dealing with the complexity of the global pandemic could herald a better future, one of greater equality and mutual responsibility.

 I am hoping that we find new partnerships, and I always believed in a market economy which was regulated, so that it benefits most people,” she said. “What we can try to find now is a new balance between how business feels responsible towards society, and how society can feel responsible towards business.”

 Ms. Thorning-Schmidt complimented the insurance industry for its work on keeping global economies moving during the COVID-19 crisis, describing it as a ‘first-mover’, both in terms of the pandemic and climate change.

 “I think we should listen to the advice of this industry much more, and if we did that in terms of the climate crisis, more global leaders would come to realize that they need to be even more serious about climate change, because in a few years the damage will be irreparable.”

 Ms. Thorning-Schmidt said the climate crisis could easily “go beyond the capacity of insurance,” if not addressed quickly and with sufficient resources and regulations, adding that the enormous task of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis should encourage governments to act with fortitude and tackle other major issues that need to be addressed.

 “If we choose to, we can use this pandemic to ask ourselves new questions about our democracy, about how we react to complex problems, about cooperation between nation states, about our health sector, about equality – all these issues that matter so much,” she said. “I am still hoping that the crisis will make us wake up, ask new questions and try to find new solutions. We should not return to the ‘old normal’; we should return to a new normal where we try to do things a little bit better, not least for our children.”
 When asked about dealing with the next pandemic, Ms. Thorning-Schmidt said preparation was as important as prevention, and that countries needed to think ahead and put appropriate measures in place.

 “We need to have better warning systems, better cooperation. We need to find the right tools but at the same time not over-steer and make global interaction more complicated and cumbersome than is necessary. I hope we can find that balance in the months and years to come.”

 To watch the full interview and sign up for future fireside chats, please click here:

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