Q&As for 2022: Shaun Tarbuck, CEO of insurance co-op apex ICMIF

The move from protection to prevention, with net-zero commitments and public-private-mutual parnerships to deliver the UN 2030 Agenda

How were the past 12 months for the sector and what is in store for 2022?

Despite the challenges of Covid-19, ICMIF experienced another good year. New members in 2021 include Gore Mutual (Canada); Univé (Netherlands); and the Aéma Group (France), and we continued to develop our virtual offer; a vibrant programme of regular, member-only events saw 50 webinars with over 3,500 attendees. 

CEO/C Suite strategic forums, launched in October 2020, offer regular virtual roundtables for strategic leaders on the mutual difference. More than 120 senior executives joined these discussions in 2020/2021, representing 60+ member organisations.

ICMIF launched a member-only Knowledge Hub in 2020 with over 700 searchable assets including case studies, thought leadership articles, webinars and video presentations from previous events. This resource continued to grow in 2021 and content is shared regularly with members in response to direct queries. 

We also created a range of online learning and networking products including a mutual leadership course which provides extended discussion on common challenges with peers from around the world. An online alumni forum has since been launched to continue the learning process. Issues at the forefront of member minds include: sustainability; insurtech; leveraging mutuality, the ESG agenda and governance. 

Three global partnership agreements, announced in 2019, continue to progress. These partnerships are with the UN Development Programme; the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR); and Accounting for Sustainability. ICMIF continues to be represented on the Insurance Development Forum, a public-private-mutual partnership between the industry and the UN partnership to deliver the UN2030 Agenda. We continued to work with the UN Environment Programme – Finance Initiative on two key initiatives: the Net Zero Alliance and the ‘Insurance SDGs’. 

Our work with UNDRR in 2021 saw us find examples of ICMIF members working to help the industry shift emphasis from protection to prevention, through disaster risk reduction, awareness, capacity and financing. The co-op and mutual sector is uniquely positioned to take a lead in this: 20 case studies were showcased in a joint report from ICMIF and UNDRR, published in April 2021 ICMIF then launched a Disaster Risk Reduction Hub of case studies. 

In relation to sustainable investments, ICMIF’s chair Hilde Vernaillen announced at a specially convened UN General Assembly on 26 October 2021 that 40 ICMIF members have US$576b of investments aligned to global sustainable frameworks, representing 37% of their combined investments – beating my own predictions for the entire global insurance industry.

The fact that nine ICMIF members have made net-zero commitments already means that this will continue to increase. Who knows, maybe we can reach US$1tn of sustainable investments by ICMIF members by 2022; what a great way to celebrate ICMIF’s centenary. We will be launching an ICMIF Net-Zero Working Group to share best practices in the new year, when the ICMIF Sustainable Investment Report for 2021 will also be published.

Next year is our centenary and we hope to return to face-to-face events, with celebrations throughout 2022, building to our global conference in October – to be held in Rome, the city of our birth.