LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 30, 2018--There has been a shift in investor expectations in recent years, with shareholders judging companies on a broader spectrum of criteria, rather than solely on financial metrics, according to a new briefing by A.M. Best. Insurers and reinsurers, with their unique societal role as risk managers, risk carriers and investors, have not been immune from the trend to adapt and consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities in their operations and assess what kind of impact they might have on their Credit Ratings.

The Best’s Briefing, titled, “Considering Environmental, Social and Governance Factors from a Credit Rating Perspective,” states insurers and reinsurers are facing consumer demands that they take positions on issues ranging from climate change to gender equality. In addition to elevated public interest, companies are under pressure from non-government organisations and regulatory authorities, particularly in Europe.

Jessica Botelho, financial analyst, said: “Overall, this shift in focus toward understanding how companies are managing ESG risks and opportunities is not simply a fad that is likely to fade. Moreover, as insurers conduct their business with long-term time horizons, European market leaders in particular have committed to embedding ESG into the cultures of their organisations.”

The report states ESG risks vary by industry and are considered material when it is likely that companies will incur substantial financial costs in connection with them. For insurers, perhaps the most obvious risk is climate change, which has the potential to lead to an increase in the severity and frequency of severe natural catastrophe events. Conversely, ESG opportunities focus on a company’s ability to identify and capitalise on relevant challenges for profit, such as developing new products for the renewable energy sector.

With no industrywide ESG standards in place, it can be overwhelming for insurers and reinsurers, particularly small- to medium-sized entities, to understand fully how to implement and disclose ESG practices. Although there has been significant progress in the harmonisation of methodologies and standards, further improvements concerning the definition of key metrics and educating users on the importance of ESG in financial analysis are still required. A.M. Best will continue to monitor developments in ESG and determine what impact, if any, they have on Credit Ratings.

To access a complimentary copy of this briefing, please visit http://www3.ambest.com/bestweek/purchase.asp?record_code=277538.

A.M. Best is a global rating agency and information provider with a unique focus on the insurance industry. Visit for more information.

Copyright © 2018 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180830005158/en/

CONTACT: A.M. Best

Jessica Botelho, CA, +44 20 7397 0310

Financial Analyst

jessica.botelho@ambest.com

or

Yvette Essen, +44 20 7397 0322

Director, Research, Communications &

Media – Europe, Middle East & Africa

yvette.essen@ambest.com

or

Edem Kuenyehia, +44 20 7397 0280

Director, Market Development &

Communications

edem.kuenyehia@ambest.com

KEYWORD: UNITED KINGDOM EUROPE

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FINANCE INSURANCE

SOURCE: A.M. Best

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 08/30/2018 03:00 AM/DISC: 08/30/2018 03:00 AM

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180830005158/en