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Published: 12:31, September 29, 2021 | Updated: 15:09, September 29, 2021
Climate change replaces pandemic as insurers' top worry
By Bloomberg
Published:12:31, September 29, 2021 Updated:15:09, September 29, 2021 By Bloomberg

A horse eats grass on a cracked ground within Bastelicaccia on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica on Aug 23, 2021, amid a drought. (PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP)

Climate change has returned to the top of the list of insurers’ biggest concerns as the vaccine roll-out and gradual lifting of health restrictions see pandemic fears ease in many countries.

Global warming was ranked as the biggest risk to society over the next five to 10 years in a report released Tuesday by French insurance giant AXA SA. 

Climate change is back at the top of the agenda ... This is good news, since last year we feared that the explosion of health risks may overshadow the climate emergency.

Thomas Buberl, AXA Chief Executive Officer

While that also topped the ranking in 2018 and 2019, it was outstripped by diseases and pandemics last year as the virus spread across the globe. 

“Climate change is back at the top of the agenda,” AXA Chief Executive Officer Thomas Buberl said in a statement. “This is good news, since last year we feared that the explosion of health risks may overshadow the climate emergency.”

ALSO READ: UN: Two-thirds of 1.2m polled call climate change 'global emergency'

Insurers are being increasingly challenged by global warming as extreme weather events wrought by climate change are expected to keep rising. Just under a fifth of the 3,500 insurance professionals polled across 60 countries expressed faith in public authorities to mitigate the crisis.

The survey also found that cyber risks, which ranked second on the list, was a fast-growing fear for insurers. 

This year, some 61 percent of respondents put cybersecurity among their top five concerns, up from 54 percent in 2018. The pandemic dropped to third place.

READ MORE: 'Death sentence': Low-lying states urge faster climate action at UN

“The pandemic and the lockdown have certainly accentuated the use of digital tools, and we insurers have seen that it has also intensified cyber risks and attacks,” AXA Deputy CEO Frederic de Courtois said at a press briefing with reporters. 

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