Climate change remains a huge challenge for our society. Over the last year we have seen climate related disasters again approach record levels, while in the UK simultaneous flood and drought conditions are typical of a world in which historic patterns are challenged.
The UK Government recently published its Climate Change Risk Assessment - the culmination of five years' work to set out the key climate risks facing the country. Insurers were not surprised to see such an extensive list of risks, particularly relating to flooding, included in the report; we are only too aware of the vast and complex nature of the problem. Indeed the insurance industry, through its expertise in risk management, analysis of the financial costs of increasingly extreme weather, and extensive contact with the consumer, has a key role to play both in understanding the changing climate, and helping to address its causes and consequences.
The ClimateWise initiative marks a new era of industry action and co-operation, on a global level, to tackle climate change. For the ABI, the role that ClimateWise plays in encouraging our members to think both about the longer term future of the industry and about the societal value that the industry delivers is extremely welcome. As the trade association representing the insurance industry in the UK, we were instrumental in facilitating the launch of the initiative in 2007 and, despite our small size, we remain a signatory to the ClimateWise principles. It is in this capacity that we are reporting back on the actions we have taken on these principles during the fifth year of the initiative.
As a trade association public policy is a priority for us so, as always, we are especially strong on principle 2 - ‘Inform Public Policy Making'. This year, however, has been even more focussed on influencing public policy than previous years. Safeguarding flood insurance after the Statement of Principles expires in 2013 is one of the ABI's fourteen ‘principal issues' and much of our and resources has been focused on this area. It is an area of vital importance to the industry now and, given the climate risks ahead, of even greater significance in the long-term.