Henri de Castries signs the Kyoto statement, a major commitment of the Geneva Association on climate change

On May 29, 2009 the 36th General Assembly of the Geneva Association took place in Kyoto. Following this meeting, the Kyoto statement of the Geneva Association was officially signed by Henri de Castries, AXA chairman of the management board. This declaration is a major commitment of the world's largest insurers, attesting the deep concern of climate change and its consequences to the insurance industry, with key messages against the potential economic and social backdrop.

The International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics, or by its short name "The Geneva Association", is a unique world organisation formed by 80 chief executive officers (CEOs) from the most important insurance companies in the world. It tries to identify fundamental trends and strategic issues where insurance plays a substantial role or which influence the insurance sector. In parallel, it develops and encourages various initiatives concerning the evolution of risk management.

This "Kyoto statement" affirms that climate change and its economic and social consequences are of serious concern to the insurance industry.

Against this backdrop, the insurance industry commits to play a major role in the global efforts to counter climate risks. More precisely, the leaders of the world's largest insurance companies commit towards their main stakeholders - customers, policymakers, UN's Climate Change Conference (COP15), with insurance industry peers - with strong key actions, among which:

  • enhancing research capabilities,
  • providing innovative solutions by funding relevant research and providing tools to materialize them,
  • developing products in order to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels, designing insurance products to support low-carbon energy projects and investing more in this type of projects,
  • helping policymakers counter climate risks through active cooperation in implementing building codes for instance,
  • communicating climate risk levels to customers, as well as strategies for mitigation and adaptation, and also quantifying financial benefits of those strategies.

The statement summarizes the means and the position the insurance industry has in providing services and solutions against climate risks and declares that actions should always be taken in common with the other stakeholders, within a framework of adaptation.

AXA is already committed in the fight against climate change risks being signatory of several private sector and UN statements (Read our commitments), but the Kyoto statement is the first one specifically dedicated to the insurance sector.

Beyond these commitments, AXA is providing proof of its engagement on this issue through the climate change work already being done within the AXA Research Fund, the Risk Management community and several AXA entities. The AXA Group's development innovations include a range of "ecological" auto insurance products with "pay as you drive" limited mileage packages. By proposing rate discounts and e-learning sessions, these measures encourage drivers to reduce their C02 emissions.

AXA also promotes energy efficient housing by proposing rebates on home insurance policies to customers who improve their dwelling unit's isolation or upgrade their domestic heating system.

The Kyoto statement proves that climate change has become a strategic priority for the sector, and highlights the role AXA can play as a responsible insurer.

To read the complete list of commitments, click here to access the Kyoto declaration.