“Our sustainability strategy now covers our operations, underwriting activities and investments, and our social responsibility. We are constantly enhancing it and implementing concrete initiatives to increase our commitment in all areas of this important topic”, said Torsten Leue, Chairman of Talanx AG’s Board of Management. “The Board of Management regularly discusses the issue of sustainability. Our goal is to ensure that all our divisions and the regions in which we do business are positioned so as to be fit for the future. As a leading-edge enterprise with a long and rich tradition, we are rising to this crucial challenge and supporting the transition to a low-emissions and socially responsible economy.”
Talanx started calculating its carbon footprint in Germany in 2019 so as to be able to specifically target emissions reductions. Its basic principle is to capture and reduce its carbon emissions, and to offset any that cannot be avoided. The goal is to achieve a clear reduction in its own carbon emissions worldwide in the medium to long term. Operating workflows are reviewed constantly to ensure sparing use is made of resources. Carbon emissions that cannot currently be avoided are offset. To achieve this, the Group supports two certified offset projects in Brazil and Uganda that focus on sustainable forestry. The Group intends to successively extend its carbon-neutral operations to its companies and branches abroad in the coming years, starting with Europe but then also in other core markets.
New ESG body created at Board of Management level
In the area of underwriting, the Talanx Group is steadily enhancing its underwriting policy and increasingly incorporating ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria as well. The Group’s new Responsible Underwriting Committee creates internal transparency on acceptance and underwriting guidelines at Board of Management level. At the same time, by recently signing up to the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), the insurer has publicly committed to increasing transparency about ESG aspects in its core business. Going forward, Talanx will issue an annual disclosure on how it is implementing the PSI initiative’s four Principles. In addition, Talanx is examining the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) in greater depth in the current financial year and supports this global initiative for corporate reporting on climate-related financial opportunities and risks.
One of the highlights of the Sustainability Report 2019 is that, as a matter of principle, the Group will no longer underwrite any risks for newly planned coal-fired power stations or coal mines. In addition, it intends to systematically but responsibly withdraw from coal risks over time. From 2038 onwards, the goal is no longer to have any coal-fired power plants and coal mines in its portfolio. The phase-out also applies to investments; as a matter of principle, Talanx no longer invests in companies that derive more than 25% of their revenue or generate more than 25% of their power from coal. In addition, oil sands have been added to the list of exclusion criteria for both investments and underwriting.
Increased investments in climate-friendly infrastructure projects
The Talanx Group is also steadily refining its ESG approach in the investment area on the basis of the criteria set out in the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). On the one hand, the company is creating transparency about its asset portfolio. On the other, it is driving forward its investments in climate-friendly infrastructure projects that assist with economic development. For example, it is the largest investor providing financing for two solar farms in southern Spain. All in all, the Group had invested around EUR 2.5 billion in renewables and infrastructure projects such as hospitals and fibre optics up to the end of 2019. Talanx also commissions an external service provider to conduct ESG screening every six months. This involves monitoring all tradable fixed-income securities and shares included in the Group’s assets under own management.
“As a Group, we have a positive impact on the environment through our investments and our underwriting activities”, said Torsten Leue. “We are working to make our Company more sustainable in all areas. This is why I am pleased that HDI Sigorta A.Ş. in Turkey and HDI Global Insurance Company in the USA have joined the list of companies included in our sustainability reporting this year.”
In addition, a large number of initiatives and measures were launched internationally within the Group in 2019 in all the actions areas forming part of Talanx’s sustainability strategy. For example, the Group’s Italian subsidiary, HDI Assicurazioni, is driving forward its sustainable investments. The company is now completely decarbonising its portfolio, i.e. it is shifting to investments in a carbon-free economy. A large number of companies are digitalising insurance products and business processes. Thus HDI France has now introduced paperless claims processing, while the Group’s Polish subsidiary, Warta, is using artificial intelligence to assess the damage following motor vehicle accidents. The Talanx Group is also increasingly focusing on energy efficiency in its own buildings. In line with this, for example, HDI’s Mexican company will shortly move into a new, energy-certified headquarters building.
This news release contains forward-looking statements which are based on certain assumptions, expectations and opinions of the Talanx AG management. These statements are, therefore, subject to certain known or unknown risks and uncertainties. A variety of factors, many of which are beyond Talanx AG’s control, affect Talanx AG’s business activities, business strategy, results, performance and achievements. Should one or more of these factors or risks or uncertainties materialise, actual results, performance or achievements of Talanx AG may vary materially from those expressed or implied in the relevant forward-looking statement. Talanx AG does not guarantee that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors nor does Talanx AG accept any responsibility for the actual occurrence of the forecasted developments. Talanx AG neither intends, nor assumes any obligation, to update or revise these forward-looking statements in light of developments which differ from those anticipated.