Environment

We carefully manage our environmental impact and work with our customers, suppliers and business partners to respond to the changing climate.

This means looking at our operations and how we can reduce waste – water, electricity and other consumption. It also means investing in areas such as research, catastrophe modelling and new technologies that benefit our brokers and customers.

As a business with a long-term outlook, it’s important that we play our part in the debate on how to mitigate the impact of climate change on the global economy.

We recognise that the most effective way to engage with policymakers, customers and suppliers on climate issues is by acting at an industry level. That’s why we’re working together with others in our sector to play our part.

Climatewise logo

We achieve more together

We’re a founding member of ClimateWise, which aims to leverage insurer’s collective expertise to better understand, communicate and act on the risks associated with climate change and work closely with Lloyd’s and the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Our ESG Executive Sponsor also sits on the ClimateWise Insurance Advisory Council. This group comprises of c-suite executives who work together to strengthen the industry’s response to climate-related risks and inform regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders on how to promote more systematic response to climate change across the financial system.

More information on ClimateWise and the work Hiscox is doing here is available at www.climatewise.org.uk.

Hiscox Impact Report 2019

Reporting on our progress

Hiscox is independently assessed against a commitment to each ClimateWise principle: accountability, investment strategies, identifying, understanding and managing climate risk, reducing our environmental impact, informing public policy and supporting climate awareness among our customers.

These six key principles provide a framework for insurance companies to set out how they will build climate change into their business operations.

Our annual Climate report tracks and records the progress we’re making and our engagement with the ClimateWise programme.

What are the odds? It’s what gets us out of bed in the morning.

Many of the risks we underwrite are impacted by climate variability so it’s vital we understand as much as possible about climate risk. We actively invest in research, catastrophe modelling and new technologies that improve our underwriting capabilities so we can provide products our customers can rely on.

Following the devastating California wildfires of 2018, we invested in new research and modelling to further increase our understanding of the risk. By licensing a new risk model for wildfire, and applying our ‘Hiscox view of risk’ we are now able to set premiums more accurately.

The flood threat

In flood, through our participation in the UK’s Flood Re scheme, and our award-winning US FloodPlus product, we’re protecting more homeowners at risk of flooding who otherwise would have had no cover or not enough cover.

Damage caused by escape of water is the biggest driver of home insurance claims globally. We are the first UK insurer to offer a free Leakbot, the smart water leak alarm, to all new and existing buildings insurance customers, helping to prevent escape of water damage before it occurs.

The flood threat

Find out how our FloodXtra product is broadening consumer choice for flood insurance in the U.S.

Industry partnerships that put customer needs first…

Having great relationships with our brokers is important to us, and we look to build strong and lasting partnerships with those that share our values.

Our ‘superb service’ ethos means we take the time to develop a greater understanding of individual customer and brokers’ needs. Hiscox UK and Hiscox London Market have Chartered Insurer status from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which recognises the professionalism and expertise of staff and helps to attract business partners looking to work with high-quality insurers. Across the Group we run annual broker summit events for our broker partners and the rising stars in our businesses.

Savvy use of our own and other investors’ capital means we can absorb risks within our own appetite and also help to shoulder risks beyond it. Our industry partnerships can make big things possible – like creating a $1 billion fine art consortium to enable works to be exhibited all over the world.

 …and build resilience.

In recognition that it had been some time since underwriters, brokers and regulators had experienced a major market turning event, Chairman Robert Childs spearheaded a project to test our resilience. Working with 23 other organisations to simulate a serious disaster, the industry was reminded of its role in responding with speed to complex events – a lesson that came in handy later in 2017 when Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria hit the USA.

Read our 'London Market Looks Ahead' white paper.

Hiscox Green Team logo

Reducing our environmental impact

We care about the environment and have established a network of employee-led country Green Teams which share a common purpose but whose activities are tailored for each country. Together these teams can collaborate, share ideas and information to improve how we work, then implement new office practices that are not only efficient but environmentally responsible. 

Building on the success of our Green Team in Bermuda, we now have a UK Green Team to help us make positive environmental changes across our UK offices, and we will look to establish other country green teams in 2020. Our UK Green Team is already having a big impact, whether that’s partnering with food-sharing app, OLIO, in London or replacing disposable plastic water bottles with recyclable cans, the team are encouraging us all to make small changes that really add up.

Bulky waste - old sofa and cabinets

One company’s junk is another’s treasure

Our partnership with AnyJunk ensures that for UK claims requiring waste removal, such as a house flood or fire, much of the waste collected avoids going to landfill. Anyjunk use a digital platform to match people who need waste cleared to the nearest available ‘man-with-van’ team, aiming to reduce distances driven by helping local businesses use their existing fleet more effectively.

In 2019, AnyJunk collected 186,000 kgs of rubbish resulting from Hiscox claims, 94.7% of which was reused or recycled.

Thanks to new recycling processes in our York and London offices, less of the waste we generate now ends up in landfill. Although we encourage employees to use re-usable cups, our disposable cups are now recycled by a specialist company which turns the plastic elements into tubing or park benches, and the paper elements are turned back into high quality paper and paper products. We also now collect our plastic milk bottle lids and drinks tops, which go to high street store, Lush, for recycling into waterproof furniture.

Keep Bermuda Beautiful beach clean - photo credit: Anne Hyde

Keeping Bermuda beautiful

Our employees are involved in a number of environmentally responsible initiatives around the world. For example, in Bermuda we work with Keep Bermuda Beautiful, which is the island’s oldest environmental charity. With the help of volunteers, the group carries out monthly neighbourhood clean-ups, in addition to their annual island-wide spring clean in May and marine clean in September.

Through their Adopt an Area initiative, which gives individuals or teams responsibility for a specific piece of the island, Hiscox has its own designated area to take care of, so our Bermuda team work together to hold regular beach clean-ups.

Managing our carbon footprint

Hiscox is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our business. Our target remains to complete a 15% real-term reduction in our Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions per full-time equivalent (FTE) by the end of 2020, relative to 2014, and we will be setting new carbon emission targets in 2020.

The table below shows the Group’s global carbon emissions year-on-year since 2016.

Our global emissions
  2016 2017 2018 2019
Scope 1 ‒ company car use, on-site gas combustion and refrigerant loss 612 742 750 747
Scope 2 ‒ purchased electricity 2,175 1,889 1,582 1,628
Total (scope 1 and 2) 2,787 2,631 2,332 2,375

Tonnes CO2e per FTE (scope 1 and 2)

1.14 0.97 0.76 0.75
Scope 3 ‒ air, rail and personal car business travel 4,596 5,151 6,865 9,131
Total (all scopes 1,2 and 3) 7,383 7,782 9,198 11,505
Tonnes CO2e per FTE (all scopes 1, 2 and 3) 3.02 2.88 2.98 3.63
Our global emissions are independently verified each year by Carbon Footprint Ltd, a family-owned environmental consultancy.

Our Group operations have been carbon neutral since 2014. While we do our best to minimise our emissions, which are independently verified each year, we offset the emissions we could not reduce through a recognised carbon offsetting programmes. Our global emissions are currently offset through a collaboration with a wind farm in Texas, USA. We review our collaborations every year and have offset 9,198 tonnes in carbon emissions for 2019 through this scheme. 

About the scheme

The Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm is the first wind power project in the US to create Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) carbon credits. The project is located in west central Texas in Coke County and comprises 75 1.5MW wind turbines with a total capacity of 112.5MW. The turbine towers each have three 77 meter diameter rotor blades. The 75 turbines are capable of producing enough clean, renewable electricity to power over 30,000 homes annually.

The project is developed by NextEra Energy (a leading clean energy provider operating wind, natural gas and solar power plants). The objective of the project is to increase the amount of wind-generated electricity supplied to the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) substation in Coke County, Texas.

Wind energy displaces the need for traditional fossil fuel energy sources thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impact. The Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm also provides local economic benefits in the form of an expanded local tax base and landowner lease payments. Proceeds from the sale of carbon offsets provide the financial incentive for clean energy projects such as the Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm to reach development and fund initial operational costs.

The project is contributing to sustainable development:

  • Reduction in emission of Greenhouse Gases

  • Increase the contribution of renewable energy to Texas, USA

  • Encourage industries to contribute to Green Power

  • Additional local employment in windmill operations and maintenance

  • Creates no air or water pollution

  • Allows land to remain in agricultural use

ESG reporting and policies

Our latest reports, policies and disclosures on environmental, sustainability and social governance issues.

Our Report and Accounts outline our approach to risk management, including our views on social governance and environmental sustainability.

Our annual climate report tracks our progress against climate change issues.

Our environmental policy sets out the standards we aim to achieve throughout Hiscox Group activities.

Read more about what we're doing...