‘Strong’, ‘safe’, ‘resilient’, ‘flexible’, ‘innovative’. Words that resoundingly apply to the Isle of Man’s life insurance industry, and have done over many decades. A description less common, but which should undoubtedly be included in the lexicon, is ‘responsible’.
Today’s users of financial products need more than the comfort of knowing their wealth management solutions are in a safe place with professional firms at the helm. They need to know that they are in the right place, with a sustainable outlook. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors have now taken their proper place at the top table of wealth management needs.
In the Isle of Man’s life insurance industry, the governance part largely looks after itself, through the gold-standard regulatory framework its institutions adhere to. The environment and social aspects are broader but nevertheless are wholeheartedly embraced by both the Island itself and its life insurance industry.
As is so often the case, the tone is set from the top. The Isle of Man as a nation has been granted UNESCO Biosphere status – the only entire nation to have done so. Inherent in that is a commitment to:
- protecting natural resources
- developing the economy in a sustainable way
- making environmental impact wherever possible
- engaging with the local community
- promoting the Island’s cultural heritage
This establishes an overarching ESG roadmap for the Island’s government and citizens, both individual and corporate.
ESG leadership can be found in the regulatory approach too. Not only does the Financial Services Authority seek to reduce its impact on the environment as an organisation, but it has a stated commitment to consider, through its supervisory work, how best to understand insurers’ approaches to climate risk and guard against firms or products that are held out to be environmentally-friendly when perhaps they are not (so called ‘greenwashing’).
The life sector in the Isle of Man, being the largest financial services employer, has a deep-rooted responsibility to its community which is evident from its commitment to its support, both financial and voluntary, for cultural, sporting and charitable activities in the community. As individual employers, the life companies strive continuously to embed diversity and inclusion and physical and mental wellbeing into their HR policies and corporate cultures.
The industry is a global citizen too, of course, channelling investments all over the world. The life companies take a responsible approach, either as part of an institutional group policy or as individual companies, to ensure that ESG is embedded in their investment activities and, importantly, remains under constant review and evolution.
The traditional values of strength, stability and security and are baked into the Island’s life industry. The modern demands of resilience, flexibility and innovation are firmly established and working well. And the long-term vision of responsibility and sustainability is culturally embedded. This is what we mean by Isle of Man for Life.