The Co-operators Sustainable Economic, Environmental and Social Priorities
The Co-operators recognizes that our business, our communities, and the whole global economy exist within the closed system of the earth, which provides unique and irreplaceable resources and support for all forms of life. We also recognize that the capacity of the earth, to continue to provide these resources and supports, is threatened by growing demand and by the degradation of natural and social systems.
As an insurer, employer, investor, community partner, and a co-operative, The Co-operators believes that we can and must lead the way in ensuring a sustainable future. To us, sustainability is about balancing economic, environmental, and social priorities as a responsible corporate citizen.
We are committed to developing our business in a way that builds on our financial strength and seeks both to minimize any negative effects that our activities could have on the environment and society at large and, further, to perform a restorative function through innovation in business practices, product development, public engagement, and partnerships with our stakeholders.
The nature of our activities is such that from a sustainability perspective the indirect impact of our products, services, and stakeholder relationships is more significant than the direct impact of our operations. However, we commit ourselves to a continual assessment of all we do and to the ongoing pursuit of alignment with these four sustainability principles:
- In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing concentrations of substances extracted from the earth’s crust.
- In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing concentrations of substances produced by society.
- In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing degradation by physical means.
- People are not subject to conditions that systematically undermine their capacity to meet their needs.
Step-by-step, The Co-operators will strive to align our business operations, products and services, and stakeholder relationships with these fundamental sustainability principles in ways that advance our long-term financial objectives.
Extreme Weather and the Insurance Industry
In the last 30 years, Canadian insurers have doubled their client claim payments every five years because of damage caused by natural disasters. The costs of rebuilding have increased because of more frequent extreme weather events, inadequate infrastructure and rising property values. However, beginning to address this extreme weather trend has also brought a better understanding of how changing weather patterns impact the risks we face, along with innovative solutions to help everyone deal with them.
Advocates for change
As leaders in risk analysis, insurers are uniquely positioned to advocate for better ways to predict and prevent losses from extreme weather events. We believe in taking a proactive approach to helping reduce your risk.
At The Co-operators, we lend our expertise directly to civic planners and work collaboratively with non-governmental organizations to protect Canadians by:
- Discouraging building on flood plains or close to fault lines
- Encouraging stronger building standards
- Highlighting the need for infrastructure upgrades
Kathy Bardswick, our President and Chief Executive Officer, is the Chair of the Board of The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR). A centre for multi-disciplinary disaster prevention research and communications, the ICLR’s strategic plan for the next five years includes focusing on four major hazards: water damage, severe wind, urban earthquakes and wildfires near built-up areas. Visit their website for homeowner safety tips and practical information on reducing damage to your property.
The Co-operators is always looking for new ways to keep you safe and take the worry out of dealing with claims. Find out how we partnered with Habitat for Humanity to develop our new ReClaim program to divert salvageable materials from landfills each year – it’s the first of its kind in the Canadian insurance industry. For more information on staying safe and finding the right coverage for your needs, visit our website.
Canada is the only G7 country where insurance against overland flooding is not widely available. In 2013, prior to the devastating floods that hit southern Alberta and Toronto, The Co-operators partnered with researchers at the University of Waterloo to interview the leaders at the largest insurance companies in Canada and understand how they could better protect Canadians from flooding. We published the findings in a research report called ‘Assessing the Viability of Overland Flood Insurance: The Canadian Residential Property Market.’
Then, in 2014, we engaged a broader group of stakeholders representing all levels of government, non-governmental organizations and senior leaders from the insurance, reinsurance, banking, real estate, legal, actuarial and the development/building sectors, as well as representatives from conservation authorities,, to identify the priority areas where action could most effectively reduce the risk of flood damage. The top three priorities were:
- Flood Plain Mapping – Develop new flood plain maps with projections that anticipate changes in the intensity and duration of future precipitation
- Preparedness of Cities – Assess the preparedness of major cities for extreme weather and flooding
- Built Infrastructure – Factor extreme weather and flood potential into new infrastructure designs and retrofits
We described these findings in detail in the report ‘Partners for Action: Priorities for Advancing Flood Resiliency in Canada.’ The Co-operators will continue to support a constructive role in improving flood risk management for Canadian homeowners.
Make your insurance more sustainable with the better place suite
When it comes to selecting insurance and investments, do you consider the impact your choice may have on the environment, the economy, and others around you? As a part of a co-operative, we’re committed to providing our clients and communities with insurance and investment choices that fit their values.
The Better Place Suite includes products and services that promote environmental, social and economic responsibility.
- If you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, you’ll receive an automatic 5% discount on your Auto policy premiums.
- With Enviroguard®, if you have a claim, you can replace damaged property with more eco-friendly and sustainable products. For a flat fee of only $40 per year, Enviroguard® will pay an additional 10% above the claim amount up to a maximum of $50,000.
- The Envirowise® discount saves you 10% for eligible Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified dwellings, including residences, seasonal and mobile homes, farm dwellings and hobby farms, and revenue dwellings with up to six units.
- Windsurance®, Solar Panel Installation insurance, and the Alternative Energy Business Interruption option provide specialized, one-stop coverage for solar and wind energy projects for individuals and businesses.
- By choosing our Socially Responsible Investments (SRI), you can bring your investment portfolio in line with your personal values by supporting companies that share your ethical values concerning environmental protection, climate change, human rights, and product safety.
- If you’re part of a voluntary/non-profit organization, find out how Community Guard® can provide your group with affordable and stable coverage for liability, property damage, group benefits and more so that you can keep providing much-needed services in your community.
- Having the right insurance and employee benefit programs is important for co-operatives, that’s why we created Co-opGuard™. Co-op Guard™ combines all the protection you need in one complete package.
Enjoy the confidence that you’re making insurance and investment choices that you can feel good about.
Sustainability: What you can do