Zurich Considers Insurance Premium Discounts to Reward Climate Action

Essay by Eric Worrall

Is Zurich charging too much? If Zurich has enough spare cash to reward for climate action, perhaps everyone should demand a discount?

Insurers may cut premiums for climate action: Zurich chair Summerhayes

Aleks Vickovich Wealth editor
Jan 30, 2023 – 5.00am

Former regulator Geoff Summerhayes says providing incentives to reduce carbon emissions, such as lower insurance premiums, will be a key focus of his tenure as chairman of Swiss insurance giant Zurich’s Australian operations.

Mr Summerhayes said he was lured back to the insurance industry in part because of its broader social role in helping to mitigate key social risks, including climate change.

“The insurance sector needs to recognise where advances have been made with the consumers and or businesses in those mitigations … and recognise that in the premiums that we’re charging those customers,” he said.

Read more: https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/insurers-may-cut-premiums-for-climate-action-zurich-chair-summerhayes-20230126-p5cfmw

Why do I think offering a discount to green customers is evidence Zurich could be charging their customers lower premiums?

The reasons – climate friendly actions like adding solar panels to your roof or building a few wind turbines do not reduce the risk of a customer making a claim. If anything, renewables likely increase the insurance risk. Solar panels can catch fire, and wind turbines can fall and damage property and innocent bystanders.

Turbine which fell on a lorry;

Rooftop solar panels burning;

If the new chairman of Zurich Insurance feels his company has enough cash to offer a discount for reasons as arbitrary as a green thank you, the obvious inference is either they are charging too much, and have the excess profit to offer discretionary discounts for actions which have no significant bearing on insurance risk. Either that, or they are cross subsidising any additional risk incurred by green customers from other people’s premiums.

Maybe I’ve misunderstood, and there is another explanation for why Zurich feel able to offer arbitrary discounts. But if I was a Zurich customer outside their magic circle of favoured green customers, right now I would be ringing my insurance agent and demanding my own insurance premium discount.

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January 30, 2023 2:11 pm

Other customers will be charged more.
If you are one of the others go and look elsewhere for your insurance.

Reply to  vuk
January 30, 2023 3:15 pm

Another minority redistributive change scheme through shared resposibility. Take a knee to the cargo cult.

Bryan A
Reply to  n.n
January 30, 2023 3:36 pm

Simples…They’re going to lower rates for Climate Conscious Crusaders by raising rates for Climate Contrarians

Reply to  vuk
January 31, 2023 10:25 am

As sure as eggs are eggs, Zurich will already be followed by others ( psst…..the Insurance Industry is a cesspit of formal and informal collusion ) – until some smart Actuary spots a gap in the market….

Tom Halla
January 30, 2023 2:14 pm

If Zurich does have the money to play politics/virtue signaling, they are overcharging all their customers.

Rud Istvan
January 30, 2023 2:23 pm

This makes no sense. The actuarial argument that rewarding climate action with lower premiums to save future climate based insurance claims cost is null and void since there is no increased climate claims risk—weather extremes have NOT increased; even the IPCC said so. It is true that lower premiums might increase Zurich Re market share in AUS—but not if lower premiums come at climate mitigation expense per insured household.

Of course, nothing about climate mitigation makes sense. Renewables are grid ruinables. EVs cost more, and now in CA and EU they also cost more to operate than ICE vehicles. Things that do not make sense usually have little longevity. We can hope.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 31, 2023 3:20 pm

Even if all the “climate” twaddle was carved-in-stone fact, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference to “discount” premiums for those supposedly doing something about “emissions.” China, India and other “developing” nations will ensure emissions continue to climb, so there shouldn’t be any “discounts” given the fact that any “good behavior” on the part of individual policyholders will be of no consequence.

January 30, 2023 2:24 pm

How about Swiss reparations to all global taxpayers for the tax haven impact on their tax bases and reparations to Jews for WW2 accounts taken? Also, tell what the full deal was with Hillary on withholding some names from disclosure in the deal with the IRS on tax haven agreement and the simultaneous gift to Clinton Foundation.

David Dibbell
January 30, 2023 2:42 pm

Mr Summerhayes said he was lured back to the insurance industry in part because of its broader social role in helping to mitigate key social risks, including climate change.”

Seems like blatant thumb-on-the-scale social manipulation, not “helping” in any normal sense of the word. Obviously not about risk and loss. What’s next, discounts for pushing DEI/CRT social ideology on employees?

Reply to  David Dibbell
January 30, 2023 3:20 pm

Diversity (e.g. racism, sexism, class-based bigotry), Inequity, Exclusion (DIE), and the Critical Racists’ Theory that progresses and establishes it, are a big source of leverage for political, business, and religious/ethical authority.

January 30, 2023 2:55 pm

If they have cash to trash, customers should demand rebates and shareholders dividends.

michael hart
January 30, 2023 3:05 pm

Sounds like a supermarket loyalty card.
The marketing department has to be seen to be doing something.

Bryan A
Reply to  michael hart
January 30, 2023 3:39 pm

They want to still be able to keep the backing of the World Monetary Fund to cover any losses from their stupidity.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan A
January 30, 2023 3:37 pm

And who can afford these green do dads? Rich people so once again the lower and middle classes are subsidizing the upper class. Just keeps getting dumber and dumber.

January 30, 2023 4:01 pm

Fortunately, I don’t do business with Zurich.

However, it seems pretty clear to me that they expect to gain a marketing advantage through their green virtue signaling. Customer acquisition costs are very significant in their business. They spend many millions of advertising every year. A small edge can be worth a lot to them.

January 30, 2023 4:08 pm

Stock owners should raise their voice.

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
January 31, 2023 10:26 am

If they can shout over the ESG noise….

Chris Hanley
January 30, 2023 4:31 pm

Zurich Australia chair Mr Summerhayes is a former Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) board member.
On the face of it this seems to be a conflict of interest viz. a former public servant gaining employment in an industry he previously had a role in regulating.
Corporatism is in fashion, the current Australian treasurer has floated the idea of using the savings of members of retirement funds “for energy transmission, clean energy, housing, advanced manufacturing and supply chains, northern Australia” explaining “the interests of members, funds, the economy and the country are inseparable”.
The current Australian Labor Party Government is a throwback to the Whitlam Government era of the mid-1970s like the Bourbons “they have learned nothing and they have forgotten nothing”.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chris Hanley
John Hultquist
January 30, 2023 5:16 pm

 Swiss insurance giant Zurich’s Australian operations.

Is the company a giant in OZ?
Does he speak for the whole Company?

John Oliver
January 30, 2023 6:40 pm

Wokeness, ESG, world governnence , etc etc. I cannot even keep up with the absurdities anymore. And now when 5 black cops beating a blackman to death is now a sign of white racism -nothing should surprise us anymore.

Reply to  John Oliver
January 30, 2023 7:08 pm

Surely you’ve heard of ‘the devil made me do it”?

January 30, 2023 7:04 pm

Perhaps the insurance companies, or at least some of them, are getting a cut of the trillions put into ‘green’ energies. Sharing their cut might actually be an investment that will bring still greater profits.

Peta of Newark
January 30, 2023 7:06 pm

Quote:”Former regulator Geoff Summerhayes says providing ..<blah blah blah>….. tenure as chairman of Swiss insurance giant Zurich’s <blah>…

i.e. The Gamekeeper has now become The Poacher
iow :Blinding and blatant Cronyism

= a very similar story to the one adjacent about fishes in The Arctic – cold, greedy and slimy creatures moving to where the ‘food’ is

Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 31, 2023 10:27 am

How do they get that Cronyism past the G in ESG?

January 30, 2023 10:04 pm

At higher temperatures, there should be reduced insurance payouts due to water main breakage. This cost reduction will work its way through the system and reduce everyone’s insurance costs. Right ?


January 30, 2023 10:30 pm

Blatant social engineering

Rod Evans
January 30, 2023 11:44 pm

I have investments in Zurich and will now be pulling those at the April review.
No organisation employed to maximise and safeguard investors money has the right to use it for political quasi virtue signalling.
If enough people disinvest these brainwashed morons will eventually, either get the message, or go bust.

Reply to  Rod Evans
January 31, 2023 10:28 am

Also you might look at the “brands” owns by Zurich….of which there a more than a few.

January 31, 2023 8:01 am

Short Zurich?

January 31, 2023 12:11 pm

Seems like a lot of state insurance regulators would be interested in this practice.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Mantis
January 31, 2023 3:25 pm

That only helps for Zurich North America; doesn’t extend to the “home” operations in Switzerland.

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