Allianz CEO Michael Diekmann launches the German insurer's Sustainable Development Report 2010 and reflects on the challenges the insurance business and the world at large will have to face in the years ahead.
In 120 years of managing risk for our clients all over the world, Allianz has faced countless challenges. No small number of those challenges were caused by people themselves. The failure of the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, the financial and debt crisis, and ecological catastrophes like the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico are stark signals.
These current events and their vast social damage give rise to doubts: are our political and economic management concepts sophisticated enough to really manage these new risks?
Large portions of the population seem to think so. More than ever, the latest events have opened people’s eyes to the risks that shape their lives, and to the dangers that can arise out of our own actions.
But this is also an opportunity: for policymakers, for society, and for businesses. The world must take action - and on the basis of broader planning horizons than just fiscal years or terms of office.
Sustainable development is necessary. It enables both businesses and policymakers to take a holistic management approach that makes better use of current knowledge and takes account of long-term effects.
Allianz intends to help shape this change, as a risk and opportunity manager. Our clients have already been and will be seriously affected by the impending challenges:
- Climate change has increased our clients' insured losses by a factor of 15 over the past 30 years. We are developing new solutions, including for future risks that could otherwise not be adequately insured. At the same time, our investments in renewable energy sources and efficient technologies help address climate change.
- The stability of the capital markets is important if we are to be able to finance the aging of our societies. We support rules and controls that ensure reliability, and that permit the growth required to pay for demographic and climatic change, debt reduction, and the fight against poverty.
- Economic development outside industrialized nations is not just an imperative of global justice. It will also be an engine for global growth. We are already a strong investor in emerging economies and a leading provider of microinsurance in India, Indonesia, Colombia and Africa.
Our Sustainable Development Report offers an overview of what we think and do about these issues. We also see it as an offer to engage in dialog, and as an encouragement to think and act sustainably.