Sustainability in the Retail segment
UNIQA is firmly committed to customer centricity and customer focus in its core business. At the same time, another key strategic pillar of the UNIQA strategy – sustainability – is being embedded as an integral component of this core business and emphasised more and more strongly. As a result, UNIQA’s customers are now being invited to play a fundamental role in developing new products, while sustainability aspects are being integrated into all product lines and in the advice that we give. Focusing on sustainability criteria plays an important role in this function too: we are actively promoting opportunities for sustainable investing and expanding the corresponding range of insurance products. Within the product development process, we are implementing this sustainable focus for all business lines, not just in our insurance activities. We are making a contribution in under- writing as well and continuing to implement our Statement of Decarbonisation by 2025, our effort to gradually stop doing business with companies that use coal to produce electricity.
Holistic sdvisory approach with expertise in sustainability
Alongside the major Europe-wide political and regulatory action areas, a new key area of expertise for promoting sustainability within society is providing personalised advice and education on issues such as mobility, the use of buildings for personal and business purposes, renewable energy including its infrastructure, and food and sustainable agriculture. We have recognised the need to provide this sustainability advice and have thus created an Austria-wide training programme for our advisors. The detailed plan of milestones will be signed off in the course of 2022. With our training programme, we are making sure that our employees are best placed to accompany their clients on their journey to a sustainable future. This holistic advisory approach with expertise in sustainability will also feed into our goal of becoming inspiring coaches by 2025.
Insurance products with social and environmental value
As a relevant insurance company in Europe, we bear special responsibility towards the environment and society. That is why we not only focus on the needs of our customers, but are also determined to contribute to a healthier, more sustainable and more humane world. In this context, the further development of our products and services in the spirit of sustainability is an effective lever.
Products with high ecological value
Our aim is to develop and distribute innovative products and services with environmental value that are attributable to the following environmental goals:
Climate change mitigation:
- Products that support the energy efficiency of buildings
- Products that specifically insure solar power (photovoltaic) and heat generation systems (solar thermal) and thus reduce the consumption of fossil fuels
- Products that promote e-cars and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, promote lower premiums and offer special cover for new car technologies (e.g. indirect lightning strike during charging)
- Products covering risks related to the production of renewable energy, including policies guaranteeing compensation for weather damage for renewable energy production facilities
Climate change adaption:
- Special insurance modules in connection with natural disasters for property and building insurances
- Additional catastrophe assistance in connection with natural catastrophes and damage as a result of snow avalanches, floods and inundations, mudflows, water backups caused by weather precipitation, earthquakes
In UNIQA life insurance, we currently offer green and sustainable investment funds within our unit-linked life insurance products (multi-option products). An important basis for this sustainable optimisation is the conversion of UNIQA Portfolios I to IV to products according to Art. 8 of the EU Taxonomy Regulation as of January 1, 2022. Investments will only be made in sub-funds according to Art. 8 and Art. 9 (investment funds and ETFs). Article 8 funds take into account environmental as well as social characteristics and invest in companies that demonstrate good corporate governance. Article 9 funds also strive for a sustainable investment objective and contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Environmental protection and transition to a circular economy:
- Products that replace repair costs of household and domestic appliances and thus have a positive impact on waste prevention and the circular economy
- Products in the automotive sector that favour repair instead of replacement of tyres and glass
Products with high social value
In terms of insurance products with social value, we develop and distribute the following products:
- Products explicitly targeted at high-risk groups (young people, the elderly, people with disabilities, job seekers, etc.)
- In the UNIQA Unfall & Umsorgt insurance we offer a product with three variants, which is tailored to the individual needs of people with trisomy 21.
- Our UNIQA health insurance products are available for all persons between 0 and 70 years of age. There are specific modules for children. People with mental or physical disabilities are neither favoured nor disadvantaged compared to other applicants.
Sustainability in the Corporate Business & Affinity segment
As an insurance company, we can make an important contribution to a CO2-neutral future together with our corporate clients. Through our underwriting policy, we decide on a daily basis which risks we accept and which we do not. In addition, we can accompany our corporate clients with our risk engineers on their way to climate-friendly production.
Advising on and preventing natural catastrophes
We have assembled working groups with an international makeup to drive our internal transformation process in Cor- porate Business further forward. For instance, the Corporate Business Sustainability Community is currently working on formulating a long-term strategy for implementing climate action measures for UNIQA’s corporate clients. These include activities relating to catastrophe management, such as advice and service in the event of natural catastrophes or recovery work following loss events (“post-loss consultancy”), as well as measures to prevent business interruptions caused by natural catastrophes, including ongoing evaluation of the measures taken in these areas. How premiums for natural catastrophe risks are calculated is also being adapted on an ongoing basis to provide our customers with more appropriate cover against natural hazards.
This increased focus on sustainability in our core business is also reflected in the forthcoming integration of an ESG rating into our insurance business. We are currently looking into rating tools that provide reliable ESG ratings. We want a reliable ESG rating system for corporate clients that places the focus on measures taken by the customer to reduce CO2. By doing so, we intend to factor our customers’ sustainability objectives into our insurance cover in a way that has a positive impact on the portfolio in the long term.
Insuring the low-carbon economy
The renewable energy sector is continuing to evolve, particularly in light of the Paris Climate Agreement and constantly changing EU regulations. We want to support and drive forward this progress that is being made by offering our expertise in insurance and risk advice. As our target segment is highly diverse, we rely on semi-automated solutions with industry-specific risk advice in the SME sector. We offer tailored, sustainable insurance solutions to our large enterprise cus- tomers. We also set sector-specific priorities based on market potential and the needs of our customers.
In 2021, we started to carry out annual assessments and monitoring of the existing coal-related portfolio. Since 2020, all our customers have been classified according to specific sustainability criteria.
In response to high demand, UNIQA devised dedicated solutions in the renewable energy sector in 2021. With their extensive technological expertise in energy generation, our employees are helping our corporate customers make the transition to or build up production capacity for renewables and will continue to do so in future.
Within our Corporate Business we follow our internal underwriting standard for customizing insurance coverage for larger companies. When providing coverage, the following criteria for sustainability are considered:
ESG in Underwriting Standards
Excluded types of business:
- Military equipment, ammunition or weapons including firearms
- New projects of coal power generation
- Nuclear Business
- Underground mining
- Any kind of offshore risk
- Satellites, space-craft, launch vehicles and major components thereof at the time of the launch
For the following risks, no cover/capacity can be obtained:
- Activities which are illegal under local law and regulations applicable to the concerned operating entities
- Activities which conflict with international sanctions
- Intentional or criminal acts (this does not affect the coverages of the UNIQA cyber wording for corporate business)
- Any account involving a political/reputational risk for UNIQA Group (risks sensitive with respect to UNIQA reputation, e.g. army, pornography, political parties, etc.)
- Activities in chemical cracking and in fracking (e.g. for oil and gas extraction)
- Geotechnical investigations (incl. seismological techniques)
Further ESG criteria taken into account as of 1.1.2023 with regard to the climate strategy pursued, our engagement policy and the implementation of the fossil phase-out strategy on oil and gas in the underwriting policy and can be found in the summary on "Sustainable insurance at UNIQA Corporate Business" (see here).
ESG Impact on Pricing
In our pipeline is to develop instruments that support ESG and to extend customer consulting in this area by using thermographic scan, gas leakage control, energy consumption analyze, predictive maintenance, affinity solutions (recycling…), waste management, filter installations etc. In the future these parameters should also be reflected in pricing.