Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a multi-line financial institution that provides insurance services to over 55 million customers – both people and businesses – in more than 210 countries and territories. It was founded 150 years ago and provides insurance protection services and prevention services, such as those that promote wellbeing and enhance climate resilience. The Group has 56,000 employees and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
In terms of its approach towards impact management, Zurich acknowledges that its financing activities have both positive and negative impacts and it identified and prioritised its impacts through a materiality assessment process which included feedback from external stakeholders. The insurer assigns responsibility for sustainability issues to the board-level Governance, Nominations and Sustainability Committee. The financial institution has been a signatory of Women’s Empowerment Principles since 2019 and it has a gender-balanced board of directors where six out of 11 members are women. In addition, Zurich describes its approach on engagement on sustainability themes and impact topics with clients and investees. It also discloses a list of trade associations of which it is a member including sustainability- and non-sustainability-related organisations.
As a member of the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance and Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, Zurich has set a target of net-zero financed emissions by 2050. It discloses absolute financed emissions from its corporate and real estate portfolio, including the underlying data quality. The insurer discloses the key sectors and companies it has identified as priorities to engage with on climate change and discloses that it requires them to have a strategy aligned with the Paris Agreement. Zurich is also a member of Climate Action 100+. The financial institution discloses the aggregate amount and share of investments it devotes to climate solutions and specifies what these solutions are.
Zurich has a publicly available policy statement committing it to respect human rights. It has a grievance mechanism accessible to all workers, external individuals and communities to raise human rights complaints or concerns. In addition, the insurer discloses the proportion of its total direct operations workforce for each employee category by gender, age group and nationality. Zurich also has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and takes steps to identify and address them. Furthermore, the financial institution discloses a global tax strategy.
Zurich has an opportunity to link the remuneration of its executive or management teams to sustainability performance criteria. It also has an opportunity to reach at least 40% female representation in senior leadership positions and discloses the ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men in its total direct operations workforce for each employee category. While the insurer discloses its process to engagement escalation in its underwriting activities, it could describe a similar approach across all of its financing activities. Zurich could also publish an overview of its engagement over 2021 across its financing activities.
While Zurich has interim targets for its listed equity, corporate bonds and direct real estate investments, it has an opportunity to disclose an interim target which covers all its financing activities, including underwriting activities. The insurer could also align its investments in green bonds and real estate with internationally recognised frameworks and set a time-bound targets explicitly for its climate solutions. No evidence was found regarding Zurich’s approach to fossil fuels that spans across the fossil fuel value chain and its financing activities, such as the amount or share of finance it directs towards fuels, or its stance on financing companies with new fossil fuel projects. Regarding nature and biodiversity, the insurer has an opportunity to commit to minimising its negative impacts or financing regenerative solutions.
Zurich has an opportunity to describe a comprehensive process for identifying its human rights risks and impacts across all its activities, especially its financing activities. To provide transparency on financial inclusivity, the financial institution has an opportunity to disclose the amount of finance directed towards, for example, women-owned businesses, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or low-income developing countries.
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Revenue: USD 69.86 billion; Total assets: USD 436 billion