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Insurance, Social Impact, and Profit

When you think about insurance companies, do you think about social impact? It’s likely not the first thing that comes to mind, but FSG client Skandia has realized the significant impact they can create by helping prevent risks rather than just insuring against them.

Through active risk prevention, insurance companies can not only improve lives and potentially make whole nations more resilient, but they actually increase their company’s competitive advantage. In other words, they apply the concept of shared value.

Shared value recognizes that the health of any business is inextricably linked to the long-term prosperity of its clients and communities. Through applying a shared value lens, companies can discover entirely new avenues for growth at the intersection of social needs, their business priorities, and their unique assets and expertise.

Skandia is a major provider of insurances and products for long-term savings and investments in the Nordics. In 2002, Skandia had an unprecedented amount of claims for long-term sick-leave insurance from corporate clients, so they began supporting research into how the healthiest corporate organizations work. As a result, they developed a differentiated and dynamic underwriting model for corporate health insurance based on a diagnostic tool with questions for employees, and a powerful rehab services network and hotline to prevent sick-leave. In 2014, Skandia clients’ percentage of sick-leavers to overall employees stood at 2% compared to a national average of 7%. Subsequently, Skandia chose to “pay back” unused reserves to customers in the form of reduced premiums—the start for a virtuous cycle.

Insurance companies have shared value potential in different business areas, including: risk prevention, access to insurance and financial inclusion, and clever investments. Different resources, like the UNEP Inquiry Report’s Insurance 2030 lay out a suite of options to strengthen the alignment between the insurance industry and sustainable development, and illustrate how each of the Sustainable Development Goals is relevant to insurance.

Vast untapped growth opportunities await insurance companies (and companies in many other industries) that find the business case in tackling these social challenges. We are here to help you build your success story.

Read the Skandia case study: Creating Shared Value in Sweden’s Financial Sector > 

Nina Jais

Former Director, FSG