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By integrating ESG considerations into insurance underwriting, the Sampo Group companies want to prevent association with business activities that do not comply with the companies’ sustainability policies. The Group companies also want to investigate how they can help and contribute to ESG issues, including climate change, in dialogue with their customers.
Sustainability is an integral part of If’s core business, and it is integrated into the company’s strategy. If’s strategy framework, One If, consists of four strategic foundations: Customer, Risk, People & Culture, and Sustainability. Furthermore, the strategic foundation Sustainability is built on three commitments: Commitment to customers, Commitment to employees, and Commitment to society.
The commitment to customers means, for example, that If provides loss prevention services that reduce risk and economic cost, increase safety, and decrease the environmental impact; If makes sure claims are handled in a sustainable way; and If expects its corporate clients to respect international norms and standards.
If has integrated sustainability directly into its underwriting standards and into the existing customer due diligence process for corporate clients. If’s Underwriting Policy includes expectations on corporate clients to respect international norms and standards on human rights, labour rights, the environment, and anti-corruption, as defined by the UN Global Compact. If expects its clients to comply with the UN Global Compact, even if they are not corporate members of the initiative themselves.
If uses research and grading from an external service provider to assess whether corporate clients respect the Global Compact. If the grading does not meet If’s internally set threshold, a referral is made to If’s internal ESG assessment team. The team will make an assessment and decision based on the service provider’s research and other relevant data. The ESG assessment team can grant permission to insure the client but set the company under observation; grant conditional approval for an insurance, but require the company to take action; or decide not to offer insurance for the client or renew an already existing insurance contract.
If’s initial focus is on the company’s large corporate clients, but the assessment applies to smaller corporate clients as well. Relevant If employees receive training on the principles of the Global Compact, norm-based research, and the company’s ESG framework.
ESG Framework for Underwriting, If
If has approximately 1,200 major corporate clients (companies with more than 500 employees) with business operations all over the world. These clients are offered advanced risk management services, in which a comprehensive approach is taken to understand their specific insurance and risk management requirements. If has approximately 45 of its own property risk engineers and access to an external risk engineering network. Within a normal year, If’s property risk engineers spend more than 1,300 days providing risk management services on site to the company’s corporate customers.
In addition, If has approximately 360,000 SME clients, of which 25 per cent own buildings that are insured with If. If’s priority is to make sure that as many customers as possible have fire alarms and sprinklers installed. To help its customers to avoid claims, If not only focuses on the fire-prone segments but also provides loss prevention services that can prevent several different types of damage.
Together with its partner Anticimex, If offers house assessments to private customers who own their own house and have insurance policies with top coverage. The house assessment provides the customer with a report that helps them both plan the maintenance of the property and minimise the risk of unpleasant surprises. Customers can get a house assessment done every fourth year.
Coaching and incentivising drivers to improve their habits has been identified as the area within automotive insurance with the greatest potential for making a difference. If is looking into ways to incentivise drivers to adopt safer habits. Usage Based Insurance (UBI) programmes utilising data from cars and smartphones can enable If to identify the potential for improvement for each individual driver, and even offer the right incentives to improve driving behaviour. If is learning from its sister company in Sampo Group, Hastings, and their successful YouDrive programme about how to create UBI products that help customers improve their driving habits. Safer driving is more sustainable, both by avoiding accidents and because safe driving habits are also more efficient, resulting in less unnecessary fuel consumption.
If supports the better utilisation of the Nordic car fleet by means of its customised insurance offerings to the sharing economy and new mobility providers. According to If’s calculations, based on peer-to-peer car-sharing policies, If insured journeys totalling more than 22 million kilometres driven in peer-to-peer shared cars in 2022. These shared cars enable thousands of customers to not own their own cars, which reduces the number of unnecessary trips and even the need for parking spaces in urban areas. It also reduces the number of cars in traffic, which is beneficial from a road safety perspective. Because the cars are distributed throughout the city where people live, the collection and return of the vehicles is also efficient.
If collaborates closely with its automotive partners to improve vehicle design by providing feedback on the effect of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). If leverages its large market presence and the quality of claims data with its partners’ data about what their cars are capable of, which enables If to understand the extent to which the safety systems work as intended.
If makes sure that all private customers and employees, within the 195,000 companies that are covered by If’s personal insurances, are correctly insured. The company supports private individuals and companies with economic safety in the event of an accident, sickness, or death, but also focuses on risk prevention, as well as the health and well-being of customers.
Through health insurance, If helps its customers with counselling, high-quality treatment, and surgery without delay if they suffer from illness or non-acute injury. Early intervention through health insurance decreases the risk of long-term sick leave and stimulates health and well-being. In the Nordic countries, If cooperates with various suppliers to provide digital preventive services within counselling, mental health, and self-care guidance.
If investigates how it can further improve its personal risk and health services in order to act as a proactive and trusted adviser to customers, employers, and private persons, helping to ensure that they receive the support and knowledge they need to stay healthy. If also focuses on how it can best provide customers with preventive health services within mental and physical health, to detect, treat and prevent sickness and injury at early stages, and to secure financial stability in the meantime.
Sustainability is part of Topdanmark’s core business, and the company’s programme for a more sustainable Topdanmark is integrated into the business strategy. The programme consists of three themes: Green transformation, Health and well-being in everyday life, and Responsible foundation. The programme includes all aspects of the value chain, including product and service development, loss prevention, claims handling, intake of new customers as well as existing customers, and investments.
Topdanmark has tied sustainability directly into the relations with customers through its ESG programme. The programme is based on the principles of the UN Global Compact, which Topdanmark has integrated into the due diligence process for commercial customers. This means that the existing customers are screened for compliance with the principles by an external service provider based on publicly available information. In case of a verified violation of the principles, the company enters into dialogue with the customer for the purpose of improvements. If the customer does not take any corrective actions, Topdanmark will consider additional steps, including termination of the customer relationship.
Topdanmark’s chief commercial officer of the Commercial and Agriculture division is responsible for the ESG programme, and the head of underwriting is responsible for the dialogue with the customer as well as deciding a possible termination of a customer relation. Based on information provided by the service provider, Topdanmark’s sustainability team is responsible for the assessment of whether a case can be classified as a violation of the UN Global Compact principles.
Topdanmark also excludes the same industries in its insurance underwriting as in its investment activities, namely, the production of coal, tar sands, controversial weapons, and tobacco.
Topdanmark proactively works with the prevention of health problems by using innovative solutions and digital means to help customers. The company has an extensive health programme that helps customers to follow a healthier lifestyle and improve their physical and mental well-being. When an injury or an illness occurs, Topdanmark contributes to limiting the consequences in the best possible way.
Topdanmark wants to ensure that customers always receive easy and fair claims handling. The objective is for customers to receive compensation quickly, efficiently, with great service, and according to the terms of the policy. Topdanmark uses several kinds of analyses to assess whether customers are satisfied with claims handling. In addition, the company aims to continuously improve its solutions, processes, communications, and advice.
Topdanmark processes around 310,000 claims a year. Therefore, errors in claims handling cannot be completely avoided. When the company becomes aware of an error, it is fixed immediately. If the error has an impact on the customer’s compensation or the future process that the customer must go through, the company pays any difference and informs the customer accordingly. To minimise the number of errors, claims handling is continuously quality assured through internal controls, dialogue with employees, and feedback from customers.
Climate change and the related more extreme weather conditions are challenges that push Topdanmark to continuously develop new products and services. Topdanmark’s goal for 2025 is to have five new products, areas of insurance coverage, or services that support customers in GHG reduction and other sustainable choices. This applies both to private and commercial customers.
Topdanmark’s Sustainability team carries out an assessment of whether the product meets the minimum requirements, while the competence group for the implementation of the EU Taxonomy carries out an assessment of whether the product meets the requirements of the Taxonomy. The final approval of whether a product, coverage, or service can be regarded as sustainable lies with the Product and Services department.
Hastings has Underwriting Principles with an operating structure that ensures decisions are grounded in data, and the company is able to react quickly to changes in the market. Hastings has an active focus on changing customer demands and attitudes, and the company explores propositions that support changes in vehicle fuel types, as well as changes in usage. Hastings also uses key data sources that identify the flood risk of each property, providing the ability to consider the implications of temperature rise in underwriting rules in the longer term.
Hastings’ Claims department focuses on providing customers with the support they need and removing barriers that might prevent a customer from making a claim quickly. Hastings has dedicated case handlers available to support customers and proactive communication provided to customers throughout the journey. When making a claim, Hastings wants customers to have a positive experience in which they are treated fairly and the process is as straightforward as possible.
Mandatum combines special expertise in money and life. Its business is based on asset management and wealth management, risk preparation services (e.g. personal insurance), corporate customers (e.g. reward and compensation services), and investment and savings services.
Mandatum’s underwriting is based on the Underwriting Policy, which aims to ensure that the insurance risks are commensurate with the premium income of the company and that customers are always treated fairly. All insurance products and any amendments are approved by the company CEO, based on a proposal brought to the Management Board. Mandatum also makes sure that the employees’ know-how in underwriting and offering risk insurance that meet the customers’ needs is up to date.
Mandatum serves its customers by phone and via online service. The company’s objective is for customers to receive compensation quickly, efficiently, with excellent service, and according to the terms of the policy. Automation is used in claims handling to ensure that customers receive easy and fair claims handling. Mandatum processes around 46,000 claims a year. The claims handling is continuously quality assured through internal controls, dialogue with employees, and feedback from customers. In addition, the company aims to continuously improve its solutions, and to look at the reasons behind complaints to improve processes, communications, and advice. The company offers paperless service to ensure an environmentally friendly way to keep track of customers’ insurance matters.
Mandatum helps its corporate customers align their total compensation with strategy and make it fair and effective. Mandatum designs, implements, and provides consulting services for base pay systems, variable pay, retention, and reward systems that include sustainability metrics. Sustainable remuneration means that the reward and pay schemes are well designed, in line with the organisation’s strategy and values, non-discriminative, and openly communicated to all employees. When remuneration is sustainable, employees feel their pay is fair, which increases work motivation, satisfaction, and productivity.
Mandatum offers companies different kinds of pay surveys, which help organisations to plan and audit their pay and reward schemes. These surveys include a pay survey as part of the organisation’s equality plan, which is mandatory for all employers in Finland, if the number of employees is above 30.
Mandatum’s reward solutions include personnel funds for the entire personnel of a customer company, as well as pension and personal insurance. Personnel funds established by Mandatum enable customer companies’ personnel to invest their bonuses in a long-term strategy and enhance the economic security of the personnel. Professional wealth management ensures that funds are invested reliably and responsibly, while increasing the general wealth of the Finnish employed population.