Climate change – Putting knowledge to use, devising solutions

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Putting knowledge to use, devising solutions

Increased flooding, heatwaves, droughts and severe storms: the impact of climate change can be felt around the world. Munich Re offers knowledge for understanding climate risks better and making the consequences calculable.

Climate change cannot be stopped, only weakened or slowed. It is highly probable that it will even accelerate in the next ten years. Direct effects of climate change are extreme weather events, which will cause increasing fatalities and severe material damage, destroying infrastructure but above all also giving rise to crop losses in agriculture. Emerging and developing countries are particularly affected – countries whose contribution to climate change has been only minor.

In the second half of this century, we are threatened by enormous damage from climate change that may possibly fuel itself. In order to avoid this scenario and at least slow the pace of climate change, it will be essential to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases substantially. The most effective way would be the adoption of an ambitious international climate policy by all countries if possible.

Although no progress is being made in the negotiations for a global climate agreement at a political level, Munich Re is taking action. Our insurance solutions help to cushion the effects of climate change and to smooth the way towards a sustainable and climate-neutral future.

Munich Re advocates effective and binding rules on CO2 emissions not only internationally but also within Munich Re itself: business operations throughout our Group are to be made carbon-neutral by 2015, based on our internal environmental management system, which enables us to continually improve our ecological footprint and CO2 emission performance.

Peter Hoeppe - Munich Re

"Climate change is one of the greatest risks facing humankind this century. Through a part of its core business, the insurance industry is directly affected and therefore assumes a leading role in devising solutions for climate protection and adaptation to the inevitable changes."

Professor Peter Höppe, Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Centre

Our approach: Expertise and research
In the financial and insurance sector, Munich Re is a pioneer in analysing the consequences of climate change. Back in 2008, Munich Re pooled all the specialist knowledge on climate change it had gathered over four decades in the Corporate Climate Centre (CCC). In this network, staff members from all parts of the Group not only research the consequences of climate change but also devise pioneering concepts and product solutions. At Munich Re, Dr. Torsten Jeworrek, Reinsurance CEO, is responsible for all insurance-specific matters relating to climate change. He is supported in this task by Professor Peter Höppe, Head of Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Centre, as well as by all members of the Board of Management, departmental managers and staff at the various units involved with products and questions relating to climate change.

Our experts maintain a close dialogue with scientists, associations and research organisations all over the world. Members of the CCC, for instance, have contributed in recent years to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a work involving a total of approximately 2,500 research scientists and 450 principal authors over a period of six years. A partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), which comes to an end in mid-2014, is exploring and researching the economic effects of climate change. Through our involvement with acatech, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering, we aim to promote the advancement of innovative technologies and solutions at a national level using our risk expertise.

Concrete, forward-looking solutions
In these efforts, we are continuously developing solutions for climate protection.

Our strategy consists of three components:

Risk assessment

As a result of decades of observing and recording damage caused by natural catastrophes, we are able to provide well-founded hazard assessments. For example, our NATHAN Risk Suite is a globally unique service for precisely determining locations at risk from climate change worldwide.

Business potentials

We are also attempting to constantly leverage business opportunities by promoting climate-neutral technologies through investments and innovative insurance concepts. This is achieved on the one hand by coverage concepts which we have developed specially for the wind, solar and geothermal sectors and which create the planning certainty needed for investments in climate-friendly technologies. We also cover losses caused by climate change and offer effective adaptation in the form of new products, such as cover against crop failures or policies protecting the holder against flood damage.

Asset management

For its own part, Munich Re is investing in renewable energies and new technologies as part of its RENT investment project, e.g. in solar parks in Spain and Italy, or in wind parks in Germany, France, Great Britain and Sweden.

Striving to benefit humanity
Munich Re plays an active role in a range of national and international climate-protection organisations, such as the United Nations Environmental Program, the Environmental Pact of Bavaria and, as a board member, the Global Climate Forum, previously known as the European Climate Forum. In this way, we share our expertise at different levels with other companies, political decision-makers and the public.

In 2005, Munich Re also initiated the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII). Comprising insurance, climate and economic experts and NGOs, the MCII prepares risk-transfer solutions for developing and emerging countries within the framework of the World Climate Conference (UNFCCC).

You can find more detailed information on how we are responding to the challenges of advancing climate change under the heading
"Solutions" and particularly in the articles on
"Insurance concepts for renewable energies",
"Environmental management",
"Climate protection",
"Green insurance solutions" and
"The RENT investment programme".
There is also further information in the summary to be found in
"Memberships and partnerships".

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