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How the insurance industry is contributing to sustainable development

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Actu - blogue Desjardins

Property and casualty insurance is essential for a viable economy. Without coverage, companies and individuals could risk losing their assets if a loss occurs. And, because of its local, social and environmental economic weight, the property and casualty insurance industry plays a key role in promoting sustainable development in society. Here's how :

“Reward” discounts

In addition to basic coverage for clients’ assets, insurers can offer insurance discounts to encourage them to acquire more eco-friendly goods, such as fuel-efficient vehicles that consume less gas or LEED- or Novoclimat-certified homes. Insurers exercise some general influence over the public’s safety, for example, by encouraging responsible behaviour behind the wheel. Thanks to telematics, it is now possible to reward good drivers with substantial discounts on their insurance premiums.

Reducing paper consumption

Insurance is a service industry based on a contractual agreement between a client and their insurer. When taking out the policy initially or making changes later on, the client must obtain a paper or other copy of their insurance documents. As a result, copious amounts of paper are used. The industry is urged to choose a more eco-friendly type of paper and develop new ways to reduce its environmental footprint.In concrete terms, Desjardins Insurance clients who choose the No Paper option (and receive their policy electronically only) save 15 tonnes of paper annually.

Local economy

When insured damage occurs, repair work is often done by local companies, such as vehicle repair shops and building contractors.Property and casualty insurers suggest certain companies to their insureds to carry out work after losses. These companies are chosen based on their expertise, the quality of their services and their ability to respond quickly, among others. There may also be other sustainable development criteria.

Risk prevention

Car accidents, water damage, fire—living through any type of loss is unpleasant. As experts, insurers help to identify and prevent loss risks. The saying goes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! By encouraging their clients to take specific steps to protect their possessions and prolong their usefulness, insurers help to reduce damage and avoid insurance premium increases in general.Obviously, losses cause waste. Prevention is thus a means of keeping property longer and doubtless the best way to use resources longer!

Community involvement

Insurers also play an important role in communities. Desjardins Group is committed to being an engaged, motivated corporate citizen that contributes extensively to its community’s well-being. This translates into investments—of time and money—in event sponsorships, charitable donations, involvement with causes, scholarships and bursaries and so on. Sustainable development and eco-friendly behaviour are at the heart of all these actions.The insurance premiums received in exchange for insureds’ coverage are partly reinvested in the community. Just like individuals, insurers can also make responsible investment choices, when possible. Learn more about responsible investments.

Educating the public

For Desjardins, educating people about risks or insurance products is essential to maintaining financial health, the very foundation of sustainable development. In order to make informed decisions, people must be aware and understand. For instance, currently, one-third of tenants are not insured. Why? Because they are misinformed about the insurance products designed for them. Since tenant insurance is not mandatory, unlike vehicle insurance, many people have the impression that it is unnecessary.

Many believe they “don’t have anything worth insuring.” Yet, on its own, civil liability insurance is a key part of a person’s financial security. Informing the public about this type of risk is a tangible way of serving the community and ensuring sustainable development.

This very issue was also the subject of a Desjardins education plan, which gave rise, in 2013, to The Tenant Challenge educational initiative.