Green insurance for One Planet Communities?

26.07.2011 UK

The One Brighton One Planet Community developed by Crest Nicholson and BioRegional Quintain Ltd, has been insured since its creation by Naturesave Insurance as part of the project’s One Planet Action Plan to ensure sustainability at all levels. Matthew Criddle MD of Naturesave blogs about why the company is green and the challenges that climate change is bringing to the industry and its clients.

Naturesave Policies Ltd has been trading since 1993 and was set up as an environmental and ethical insurance broker. The company promotes sustainable development within the business community and aims to create greater awareness within the Insurance industry about the long term problems that the industry faces in ignoring the threat of climate change, pollution and environmental damage.

Key aspects of Naturesave's environmental policy include putting 10% of all our personal insurance premiums into a fund (The Naturesave Trust) to benefit specific environmental and conservationist projects throughout the UK and offering a free Environmental Performance Review to all our commercial combined clients which provides practical implementation methods to run their businesses or organisations in a more environmentally friendly way – saving them money and improving their environmental credentials.  You can see more policy details to the right of this page.

When we started this business 18 years ago we would not have believed that we would now be winners of the Queens Award for Enterprise 2011 in the Sustainable Development category – the first insurance provider ever to win this award. The Queen’s Award Office recognised our role as an exemplar ethical insurance provider for individuals, companies and the voluntary sector throughout the UK and also valued the work of our Trust.

The term, “sustainable development”, itself, is thought of by some as dated or “old hat”. BioRegional and their One Planet principles are at the fore front of more proactive ways of leaving the planet in a state that will enable others to have a sustainable lifestyle  - generation upon generation.

The paths of Naturesave and BioRegional, and more recently BioRegional Quintain Ltd, have been closely interwoven over the years, well before the creation of BedZED and greater governmental and establishment recognition. Both companies have sought to be practitioners of greener living practices and are both strong leaders in their field.
 
Naturesave has worked on many projects with BioRegional including the TreeStations, BioRegional Charcoal, The Laundry and One Brighton. For BioRegional and the One Planet Communities ethos it was a natural choice.

The majority of projects that our Trust has funded  have been specifically focused on the 10 One Planet principles. The projects have ranged from recycling to renewables and from food waste minimisation to sustainable transport.

From Naturesave’s prospective insurance is not an easy industry to “green”, as there is no stock or products as such. It deals in credence products and the service and ethics behind that.

The insurance industry’s inability to make probabilistic assessments of future weather, due to ever increasing human induced climate change, has affected the capacity of the industry to accept risk.

With rising sea levels, insurers are increasingly going to be reluctant to offer flood insurance as standard. This is starting to effect people, now, especially in low lying areas in this country (i.e. - Lewes, the Somerset levels, the Thames estuary, the Wash and the Ribble Valley) resulting in local homeowners having difficulty selling their homes, on flood plains, as incoming buyers are finding it increasingly harder to get a mortgage due to a reluctance of insurers to offer such cover. Whilst we are by no means reaching a critical stage yet, we believe that people are, subliminally, adopting a “Noah’s ark” mindset when buying a house. “Waterworld” is not such a ridiculous notion. If we are exacerbating natural weather trends knowingly, then we are even more of a stupid species than the dinosaurs! (No offence to the remaining dinosaurs out there).

The net result of this trend is that the insurance industry will start to place the flood risk in a separate “pool” similar to the one created for the risk of terrorism which was “pooled” away from general commercial and domestic insurance as a means of dealing with the ongoing uncertainty of the perceived risk of terrorism globally. In effect flood cover will have to be bought in as an extension on standard policies, which in some instances will simply not be offered.

With an increasingly uncertain climatically challenged world, governments will need to deal with our dependency on fossil fuels, wasteful consumerism and the challenge of where we get our electricity from.

Naturesave Policies Ltd
58 Fore St
Totnes
Devon
TQ9 5RU
01803 864390
mail@naturesave.co.uk
www.naturesave.co.uk

Key Facts

Key aspects of Naturesave's environmental policy include:

•   putting 10% of all our personal insurance premiums (household buildings, contents, renewable energy systems, travel and personal accident) into a fund (The Naturesave Trust) to benefit specific environmental and conservationist projects throughout the UK.  Naturesave also puts 10% of some commercial insurance policy premiums into The Naturesave Trust, including Group Travel, Personal  Accident and Illness, Legal Expenses and Excess Buy Back cover.

•  offering a free Environmental Performance Review (EPR) to all our commercial combined   clients which provides practical implementation methods to run their businesses or organisations in a more environmentally friendly way – saving them money and improving their environmental credentials. 

•  offering financial assistance to all our commercial clients to offset their carbon emissions.

•  offering innovative insurance policies that benefit the environment and encourage more sustainable practices, such as our Household Renewable Energy policy which includes loss of revenue for the income produced by renewable energy systems in the home. 

•  giving premium discounts to household clients with energy efficient and environmental additions to their homes (such as loft and wall insulation, water butts, energy efficient appliances and domestic renewable energy systems).

•  using environmental and ethical suppliers for all our services (telephone, banking, electricity) and office supplies where possible.
 
•  reducing consumption, re-using and recycling all paper, cardboard and office waste.
 
•  dealing with insurers and policy holders electronically.
 
•  adopting energy saving practices and encouraging staff to walk, cycle or take public transport to work and to meetings whenever possible. 

•  composting all food waste.
 
•  running a 'Carbon Zero' office – the CO2 our office produces is offset through co2Balance.