Gilles Bénéplanc, General Manager of the Adelaide Group and Jean-Laurent Granier, Chairman and CEO of Generali France contributed to the special issue of L’Opinion on Corporate Social Responsibility. Read an extract from their interview!
Despite their efforts regarding CSR, many companies complain that they cannot find an insurer willing
to insure their risks. Is this also what you have noticed?
Gilles Bénéplanc. There are two issues to be considered. The first is the insurance market, which is cyclical by nature. In 2018, after fifteen years of continuous price declines, the market
has turned around. This recovery was necessary and expected. As a consequence of the increase in prices, insurance capacity has decreased.
The problem is that traditionally poorly rated industrial players then faced abnormal difficulties in covering their risks.
Which sectors were penalised?
G.B. I am thinking in particular of public passenger transport, the timber industry and the recycling industry. The companies concerned don’t understand; yes, they bear difficult risks but they contribute to a more sustainable economy.
How do you take CSR criteria into account when drawing up companies’ risk profiles and calculating their premiums?
G.B. I would like to point out that our business in itself has a very positive impact on CSR, even if this is not always made clear.
We encourage companies to manage their risks better, to increase their prevention actions, to reduce the volatility of their results
or the rate of human accidents.
J.-L.G. Generali is devoting increasing attention to sustainability and ESG criteria. Our ambition is to be an all-round sustainability champion. We analyse our customers on the basis of their type of activities, their practices with their stakeholders, their carbon emissions, their capacity to be part of a circular economy, the transparency of their processes or their policy for preventing psychosocial risks. In the future, we could condition guarantees on levels of environmental or social performance. The merit of this approach is that it gives rise to an extremely fruitful dialogue with companies. We are committing ourselves together to a virtuous process that aligns everyone’s interests.
At Generali, we give visibility to the best ESG students in Europe by awarding them our “EnterPRIZE” prize.
Is there a bonus associated with this approach?
J.-L.G. We do not strictly speaking apply a mechanical bonus/malus system. Our tailor-made approach is based on dialogue and takes into account the company’s decisions and actions.
It is these decisions and actions that condition the granting of certain guarantees. Because these companies will be more resilient, they will be better able to withstand cyclical downturns. We can then project ourselves with them in the long term.