Relevant Issues (4 of 26)
Why are some issues greyed out?The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.
- GHG Emissions
- Air Quality
- Energy Management
- Water & Wastewater Management
- Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
- Ecological Impacts
- Human Rights & Community Relations
- Customer Privacy
- Data Security
- Access & Affordability
- Product Quality & Safety
- Customer Welfare
Selling Practices & Product LabelingThe category addresses social issues that may arise from a failure to manage the transparency, accuracy, and comprehensibility of marketing statements, advertising, and labeling of products and services. It includes, but is not limited to, advertising standards and regulations, ethical and responsible marketing practices, misleading or deceptive labeling, as well as discriminatory or predatory selling and lending practices. This may include deceptive or aggressive selling practices in which incentive structures for employees could encourage the sale of products or services that are not in the best interest of customers or clients.
- Labor Practices
- Employee Health & Safety
- Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
Business Model and Innovation
Product Design & Lifecycle ManagementThe category addresses incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations in characteristics of products and services provided or sold by the company. It includes, but is not limited to, managing the lifecycle impacts of products and services, such as those related to packaging, distribution, use-phase resource intensity, and other environmental and social externalities that may occur during their use-phase or at the end of life. The category captures a company’s ability to address customer and societal demand for more sustainable products and services as well as to meet evolving environmental and social regulation. It does not address direct environmental or social impacts of the company’s operations nor does it address health and safety risks to consumers from product use, which are covered in other categories.
- Business Model Resilience
- Supply Chain Management
- Materials Sourcing & Efficiency
Physical Impacts of Climate ChangeThe category addresses the company’s ability to manage risks and opportunities associated with direct exposure of its owned or controlled assets and operations to actual or potential physical impacts of climate change. It captures environmental and social issues that may arise from operational disruptions due to physical impacts of climate change. It further captures socio-economic issues resulting from companies failing to incorporate climate change consideration in products and services sold, such as insurance policies and mortgages. The category relates to the company's ability to adapt to increased frequency and severity of extreme weather, shifting climate, sea level risk, and other expected physical impacts of climate change. Management may involve enhancing resiliency of physical assets and/or surrounding infrastructure as well as incorporation of climate change-related considerations into key business activities (e.g., mortgage and insurance underwriting, planning and development of real estate projects).
Leadership and Governance
- Business Ethics
- Competitive Behavior
- Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
- Critical Incident Risk Management
Systemic Risk ManagementThe category addresses the company’s contributions to or management of systemic risks resulting from large-scale weakening or collapse of systems upon which the economy and society depend. This includes financial systems, natural resource systems, and technological systems. It addresses the mechanisms a company has in place to reduce its contributions to systemic risks and to improve safeguards that may mitigate the impacts of systemic failure. For financial institutions, the category also captures the company’s ability to absorb shocks arising from financial and economic stress and meet stricter regulatory requirements related to the complexity and interconnectedness of companies in the industry.
Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Insurance
Transparent Information & Fair Advice for Customers
Insurance products play an important societal role in alleviating the impact of unexpected economic shocks, allowing policyholders to minimise the financial impact of events such as illnesses, accidents, and deaths. However, the risks of unclear insurance policies, ambiguous product terms, and potentially misleading sales tactics can erode brand reputation, lead to legal disputes, and reduce the number of services and products offered. This may be especially true if regulators deem certain policies overly complex and unsuitable for customers. Moreover, insurance entities compete on the basis of financial strength, price, brand reputation, services offered, and customer relationships. Customer dissatisfaction may reduce insurance usage, potentially leading to extremely negative financial outcomes for individuals and families, such as personal bankruptcies. As financial regulators continue to emphasise consumer protection and accountability, entities that maintain transparent policy terms and direct customers toward the products best suited to them will be better positioned to maintain their brand reputation, avoid regulatory scrutiny, and protect shareholder value. Failure to inform customers about products in a clear and transparent manner may result in higher number of complaints filed against entities, customer churn, and in some instances, regulatory fines and settlements.
Incorporation of Environmental, Social and Governance Factors in Investment Management
Insurance entities must invest capital to preserve accumulated premium revenues equivalent to expected policy claim pay-outs and maintain long-term asset-liability parity. Because environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors increasingly have a material impact on the performance of corporations and other assets, insurance entities increasingly must incorporate these factors into their investment management. Failure to address these issues may diminish risk-adjusted portfolio returns and limit an entity’s ability to issue claim payments. Entities, therefore, should enhance disclosure on how they incorporate ESG factors, including climate change and natural resource constraints, into the investment of policy premiums and how they affect the portfolio risk.
Policies Designed to Incentivise Responsible Behaviour
Advances in technology and the development of new policy products have allowed insurance entities to limit claim payments while encouraging responsible behaviour. The industry is subsequently in a unique position to generate positive social and environmental externalities. Insurance entities can incentivise healthy lifestyles and safe behaviour as well as develop sustainability-related projects and technologies, such as those focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon capture. As the renewable energy industry continues to grow, insurance entities may seek related growth opportunities by underwriting insurance in this area. Additionally, policy clauses may encourage customers to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors to mitigate overall underwriting portfolio risk, which may reduce insurance pay-outs over the long term. Therefore, disclosure on products related to energy efficiency and low carbon technology, as well as discussion of how entities incentivise health, safety or environmentally responsible actions or behaviours, may assist investors in assessing how insurance entities incentivise responsible behaviour.
Entities participating in insurance activities face risks and opportunities related to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with those activities. Counterparties, borrowers or investees with higher emissions might be more susceptible to risks associated with technological changes, shifts in supply and demand and policy change which in turn can impact the prospects of a financial institution that is providing financial services to these entities. These risks and opportunities can arise in the form of credit risk, market risk, reputational risk and other financial and operational risks. For example, credit risk might arise in relation to financing clients affected by increasingly stringent carbon taxes, fuel efficiency regulations or other policies; credit risk might also arise through related technological shifts. Reputational risk might arise from financing fossil-fuel projects. Entities participating in insurance activities are increasingly monitoring and managing such risks by measuring their financed emissions. This measurement serves as an indicator of an entity’s exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities and how it might need to adapt its financial activities over time.
Physical Risk Exposure
Catastrophic losses associated with extreme weather events will continue to have a material, adverse effect on the Insurance industry. The extent of this effect may evolve as climate change increases the frequency and severity of both modelled and non-modelled natural catastrophes, including hurricanes, floods and droughts. Failure to appropriately understand environmental risks, and price them into the underwritten insurance products, may result in higher-than-expected claims on policies. Therefore, insurance entities that incorporate climate change considerations into their underwriting process for individual contracts, and well as the management of entity-level risks and capital adequacy, may be better positioned to create value over the long-term. Enhanced disclosure of an entity’s approach to incorporating these factors, in addition to quantitative data such as the probable maximum loss and total losses attributable to insurance pay-outs, may provide investors with the information necessary to assess current and future performance on this issue.
Systemic Risk Management
Insurance entities have the potential to pose, amplify, or transmit a threat to the financial system. The size, interconnectedness, and complexity of insurance entities are factors that highlight exposure to systemic risk for entities in the industry. Insurance entities that engage in non-traditional or non-insurance activities have been identified by regulators as being more vulnerable to financial market developments and subsequently more likely to amplify or contribute to systemic risk. As a result, insurance entities face the potential of being designated as Systemically Important Financial Institutions. Such firms are subject to stricter prudential regulatory standards and oversight by the central banking systems in various jurisdictions. Specifically, these insurance entities will likely face limitations relating to risk-based capital, leverage, liquidity, and credit exposure. In addition, insurance entities will be required to maintain a plan for rapid and orderly dissolution in the event of financial distress. Regulatory compliance can be very costly, while the failure to meet qualitative and quantitative regulatory performance thresholds could lead to substantial penalties. To demonstrate how these risks are being managed, insurance entities should enhance their disclosures of key aspects of systemic risk management and their ability to meet stricter regulatory requirements.