Impact investment seeks both an appropriate risk adjusted financial return and a social or environmental impact, and QBE supports this approach as a means of attracting more capital to global social and environmental issues.
In 2015 QBE launched an innovative insurance product called Premiums4Good. Premiums4Good allows customers in select lines of insurance to opt for a proportion of their premiums, at no extra cost or risk, to be invested in impact investments. This has extended across the majority of QBE divisions globally. As at the end of 2018 there were 32 investments with a value of over $440m in impact investments that support Premiums4Good.
Complementing this, in 2015, QBE have pledged $100m to invest into the global Social Impact Bond market. On the understanding that this was a small, nascent market QBE felt that this made a statement of intent to help develop this market and allow us to provide an institutional investor lens to impact investment.
By 2018, QBE has invested in over 10 SIBs across the global portfolio (Australia, UK, Canada, USA). QBE was the cornerstone investor in the first of its kind PFS (Social Impact Bond) fund in the US in late 2017. For many of these SIB Investments QBE has been present from a very early stage helping to develop documents and structures and assist in informing some standardization in this market to suit future scale. This is something we will continue to do.
In 2018, the Premiums4Good program was acknowledged by peers as innovative offering connecting insurance customer premiums to growing awareness of and demand for impact investments. QBE’s Premiums4Good was included as a case study in the Global Steering Committee on Impact Investment report in mobilising customer premiums for impact; in The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project/Institute of Chartered Accountants ‘Finance for Future’ Awards, as a Finalist ‘Building Sustainable Financial Products’ category; and the Australian Impact Investment Awards, as Impact Asset Owner of the Year in 2018. We also announced the ambition to grow the impact investments to US$1 bn by 2021.