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Would you want to let this man near your pension?

Mark Wilson, the boss of insurance giant Aviva has been getting in on the climate alarm act, with a speech to a city audience in which he outlined his shock at the horrors ahead and explained what Aviva intends to do about it. The bare bones of the plan can be seen here, and is headed by this summary of Mr Wilson's thinking.

If we do not take urgent action to limit global temperature increases to within 2°C the impacts upon the economy, society, and our business will be nothing short of devastating.

To which the only plausible response is "drivel". I don't think there is a single reputable scientist who would support Mr Wilson's view. The IPCC doesn't think this. Richard Betts, the head of climate impacts at the Met Office doesn't either. The academic literature is clear that the target is a political convenience. Even Ottmar Edenhofer, who came up with the idea of a target has confirmed that view. "Two degrees brings chaos" is mainly the preserve of the wilder fringes of the green movement.

How did Mr Wilson end up thinking such nonsense? Well a longer document setting out Aviva's plans gives hints. There in the acknowledgements we find that Aviva has worked alongside:

Aldersgate Group, Carbon Tracker, CDP, Ceres, Climate Bonds Initiative, ClimateWise, Forum for the Future, Forceful Stewardship programme, Green Alliance, IIGCC, NSFM – Network for Sustainable Financial Markets, PRI, Prince of Wales International Sustainability Unit, ShareAction, Tellus Mater, UKSIF and UNEP (including UNEP-FI and UN PSI) University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and WWF.

Suddenly his erroneous views on the projected impacts make sense.

When I read all this, I wondered if perhaps I wasn't seeing some rather impressive greenwashing rather than anything more concrete. After all, talk is cheap. However, there are hints in this longer version of the plan that Mr Wilson has already taken concrete steps:

No general insurance for fossil fuels – our general insurance risk appetite excludes providing cover for oil and gas extraction and refining, and large-scale power generation.

Get a load of that! Aviva is going to forgo a century of profits because an alliance of anti-capitalists and crony capitalists has told Mr Wilson that it would be a nice gesture.

And it's not just on the insurance front either:

We will target a £500 million annual investment in low-carbon infrastructure for the next five years...This means more money in renewable energy, such as solar PV, wind and other technologies...

...just as the government starts to kick away the subsidies that are the only thing that keeps it on an even keel. I'm sure investors will be impressed.

But more importantly, the question that must be on everyone's lips is: Why would anyone in their right mind want Aviva running their pension for them?

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Reader Comments (58)

A grouping that calls itself "Forceful Stewardship programme" certainly sends a chill down my spine.

Jul 27, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The insurance industry is doing to the promotion of climate hype what the tobacco industry did to the suppression of tobacco related health issues.

Jul 27, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Obviously, anyone involved in the insurance business has a direct financial interest in hyping up the climate alarm.
"Sorry Mr Montford, we are going to have to increase your premium this year to cover the increasing likelihood of storms, floods and droughts, expected as a result of climate change".

Jul 27, 2015 at 3:15 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Sell! Sell!

Jul 27, 2015 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

And of course, Aviva is the old Norwich Union, where the UEA and the CRU have their home...

Jul 27, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

"Forceful stewardship"

Is that what you call 2000 job cuts after a company merger.with Friends Life

Jul 27, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamspid

"No general insurance for fossil fuels – our general insurance risk appetite excludes providing cover for oil and gas extraction and refining, and large-scale power generation." Don't worry fossil fuels, there will always be a sensible company ready to do business with you. Sell Aviva now.

Jul 27, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

He could make a start by running all the Aviva offices, computers and call centres using only renewable energy as and when it is available. Thus only doing their business when the sun shines and/or the wind blows. Soon out of business and good riddance to him.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilhippos

When the fates ( and facts) are unsupportive the witch doctors redouble their incantations to the tribal Gods.

Clearly a ploy to increase premium income.

Probably drinks with Phil Jone.

Glad I'm not a shareholder of Aviva.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpectator

Having your house flooded is a very traumatic event, that will normally take 6-12 months to resolve. Other peoples tragedies make for great solemn entertainment on TV news, and brilliant propaganda for climate doom mongers.

It is useful to blame climate change for pushing up premiums, which just boost profits and income, especially when insurers have good access to information on areas liable to flooding etc, and so 'load' those property premiums anyway.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:04 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Aviva UK share price is down 2.5% today.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Nelson

I moved a pension from Aviva years ago, the performance was so poor it was just plain wrong!

Why does the insurance industry love alarmism? Take a look at an article by Roger Pielke Jr from back in 2010:-

The $82 Billion Prediction

I have posted the above link many times, there is a lot in the article, however the gist can be gathered from one paragraph:-

" ......Joining them was British climate physicist Mark Saunders, who argued that insurers could use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center to increase profits 30 percent......."

Example of in the insurance industry:-


"Models Cover 90+ Countries, Over 90% of Global Property Insurance Premiums"

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Aviva has a long track record of climate hysteria courtesy of a Dr Andrew Dlugolecki, who has been telling us that the sky was falling in since his General Accident days in the late 1990's. (ironically he is based in Perth, in your Grace's part of the world, where a bit of warming would not come amiss. He has made a career out of being wrong about climate, and I suspect was the instigator of many of Aviva's links with the wackier reaches of climate alarmism.
People often accuse the insurance industry of cynically ramping up fear in order to raise prices, but in my experience (nearly 40 years first hand) they are not that well organised. Instead there are key individuals in a number of companies who have drunk the Kool-Aid, and whose views are so strident that management has tagged along, partly for a quiet life and partly because they used to think it was good for business to portray themselves as green and caring about the environment.
The industry is generally far too prone to herd behaviour for the pronouncements to have any upward effect on pricing, so they get the worst of both worlds, inadequate prices and hostile customers. As Oscar Wilde said, one would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Presumably, this was the same Aviva Conference at which Amber Rudd was the keynote speaker?
Where she said

"First - that the deal must keep the global 2 degrees goal within reach, because that is what the science tells us will avoid the worst effects of climate change – and so that must remain our ambition."

As the keynote speaker, presumably she had the last speech.
Disregarding the well known arbitrary nature of the choice of "2 degrees", I wonder if he was embarrassed by the dissonance between their respective statements? Traditionally, even alarmists didn't pretend that 2 degrees was the end of the world as we know it. It was supposed to be the point below which we should simply relax and enjoy our shoes.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Not forgetting the recent move in some alarmist circles to now claim that 1.5 degrees is the line-in-the-sand de jour.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

'First - that the deal must keep the global 2 degrees goal within reach, because that is what the science tells us will avoid the worst effects of climate change – and so that must remain our ambition'

Ms Rudd (who has made an impressive and rapid start IMO) is becoming almost Blairite in her ability to suggest different things to multiple audiences.

See how cleverly she does it.

2C 'within reach'. Essentially meaningless, but will pacify the greenists

'Remain our ambition'. My 'ambition' is that Aldershot Town win the Champions League. Ambitions are fine. Whether you do anything about achieving them is a different question.....

If she continues her reforms with the rate and realism she's shown so far, all may not be lost in our energy sector.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Mark Wilson's statement is simply a marketing move, to condition punters to expect higher premiums.

He's seen how it worked for Munich Re, & has jumped on their bandwagon.

Jul 27, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Sadly, they ARE running my pension for me! Blubs....

Jul 27, 2015 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered Commentermarchesarosa

One does have to wonder if this git knows what an actuary is.

Surprised he hasn't jacked car premiums for diesel 4x4 drivers .... - you know in case Leigh Day, Slater Gordon or PIL get on their case for enabling lung disease in London or somesuch.....

Wllson is either a berk who needs a grown up chaperon or a dishonest crook who should be barred from holding the status he's presently abusing - or a mixture of the two - glad I've no Aviva involvement.

If I was a shareholder I'd be at the next AGM demanding a drugs test.

Jul 27, 2015 at 5:39 PM | Registered Commentertomo

"We will target a £500 million annual investment in low-carbon infrastructure for the next five years...This means more money in renewable energy, such as solar PV, wind and other technologies"

Err, would that be their money or their clients money?

Jul 27, 2015 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

I see Aviva are advertising motor insurance from £186 per annum. Well I just got mine for £123 today from a different company. Clearly they are miles off competitive.

Jul 27, 2015 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder


it's OPM - one hopes that the clients activate the ejector seat (sans parachute)

Jul 27, 2015 at 5:51 PM | Registered Commentertomo

I have some long term Aviva-managed investments and I think I should move them elsewhere, pdq - though on second thoughts this manner of thinking may well spread elsewhere - the philosophy de nos jours.

Jul 27, 2015 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Spilligan

Son of mulder that's because you are so old.

Jul 27, 2015 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

pesadia: Insurance companies invest their own money (received in premiums) and the returns they get on the investments are used to pay insurance claims and hopefully they make a profit if the claims are less than the returns on the investments.

Jul 27, 2015 at 7:12 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

True to form, Insurance companies are a licensed extortion industry.

Swiss Re were slobbering over the opportunity to extract money from the "climate change opportunity" twenty years ago, this idiot from Aviva is a tad late to the party.

Jul 27, 2015 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

Bob Nelson: "Aviva UK share price is down 2.5% today."

Sums up his stupidity!

Getting a global warming alarmists to run a company is a bit like getting an insurance salesman to present the weather forecast - just nuts.

Jul 27, 2015 at 7:45 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Perhaps in the future investors in AVIVA might be able to claim compensation (sue) the company for poor investing.

Jul 27, 2015 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered Commentercharmingquark

@ Jul 27, 2015 at 4:27 PM | michael hart

tiny little Belgium already has WAY more warming ...

"Belgium (Uccle) now 2.3 °C warmer than in the pre-industrial period"

(... ... )

Jul 27, 2015 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterducdorleans

I ditched Aviva a while back. I Removed 50.000€ from them. Their incompetence and stupidity is a wonder to behold and now their CEO confirms it. BUT he may also be touting for business.

Jul 27, 2015 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Aviva are amateurs. Real insurance companies like Munich Re do their own research.

Among many other risk insights the study now provides new evidence for the emerging impact of climate change. For thunderstorm-related losses the analysis reveals increasing volatility and a significant long-term upward trend in the normalized figures over the last 40 years.

Pielke Jr eviscerates the study here

Jul 27, 2015 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

It would be interesting to hear from someone with first-hand experience in determining how climate-driven events are actually being underwritten by insurance companies. For example, I would be pretty wary of a company that was heavily involved in business interruption insurance especially coverage of power blackouts, etc. Past experience is unlikely to help quantify the risk.

Jul 27, 2015 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterbernie1815

Would you want to let this man near your pension?


Jul 27, 2015 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

With the exception of insurance which is a legal requirement, such has car insurance , this is product that is sold on the back of fear . Fear of fire, fear of floods, fear of break-ins etc, for people buy insurance not to protect them for what they know will happen but from fear of what 'may happen' .
Therefore in one way climate alarm is ideal partner to insurance firms for it offers the chance for whole new list of 'fears ' and therefore sells, while at the same time it being very unlikely the insurance firm will ever have to pay out .

Jul 27, 2015 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

@ Jul 27, 2015 at 4:27 PM | michael hart

tiny little Belgium already has WAY more warming ...

"Belgium (Uccle) now 2.3 °C warmer than in the pre-industrial period"

Jul 27, 2015 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterducdorleans

Doesn't yet seem to have done the chocolate industry any harm though...
Is Belgium still the capital of chocolate?

I bet all those Eurocrats in Brussels like their truffles :)

Jul 27, 2015 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Blair knows the truth: it's worse than we thought. Much worse

"Tony Blair has taken a second big job with a leading financial player, attracted by the prospect of working on its climate-change initiative.

The former Prime Minister has joined Zurich, the Swiss company, as an adviser. The appointment, thought to be worth at least £500,000 a year, comes less than three weeks after he took a similar role with J P Morgan Chase, one of the biggest investment banks on Wall Street. That was believed to be a package worth about £2 million a year.

He will assist Zurich on “developments and trends in the international political environment”. His key interest, according to friends, was in its climate initiative, announced last week, developing products and research to combat global warming."

Jul 27, 2015 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Is this actually some form of coercion or economic blackmail here? Who the f*** are these people to DEMAND an established, proven way of doing things should be ripped up and replaced with pure junk that's not fit for purpose, that also just happens to be the industries that they have a financial interest in? They really need taking down a peg or three.

Jul 27, 2015 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

It proves to me there are vast sums of money to be made selling 'climate change' insurance to brainwashed idiots. On behalf of their employers, obviously

Jul 28, 2015 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

"No general insurance for fossil fuels – our general insurance risk appetite excludes providing cover for oil and gas extraction and refining, and large-scale power generation."

I am not sure exactly what he meant by general insurance for fossil fuels (sounds a rather undefined expression) but
this reminds me of the quip (similar to the MGM one that an oral contract is not worth the paper that it is written on) when either Shell or Exxon (I can't remember which) was involved in a large incident and were obliged to post a guarantee with respect to the potential claim for damages and the Claimant wanted the guarantee to be countersigned (co guaranteed by a bank), and the response from Shell/Exxon was 'which bank are you asking us to guarantee'.

Most of the large players are self insured for most risks (since they are much bigger than the insurance companies) and only have limited disaster insurance/reinsurance and that is why after the Gulf of Mexico incident, BP had to make provision in its accounts for 10s billions of dollars of loss. If the incident had been covered by insurance, that would not have been necessary since the insurers would have paid (not BP) or, for accounting purposes, the insurance would have been an asset (less policy excess) in like sum to the liability entry with respect to the loss such that it would have been largely neutral in the accounts.

Jul 28, 2015 at 4:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Having worked for 35 years as a Chartered Civil Engineer in the coal mining industry, on retiring in 2012, I set up a little consultancy firm giving advice based on my extensive experience, particularly in safely closing down coal mines, treating the shafts and so on.
All went quite well on an occasional basis until around 18 months ago when my insurers declined to renew my cover without including a clause excluding any work in, on, around or concerning a coal mine.
Despite much effort I have been unable to obtain insurance cover since, even when my largest client leant on their brokers to find an insurer willing to sell me a suitable policy without a similar "killer" exclusion clause.
Makes more "sense" now, (although I expected precisely this). And obviously not just Aviva playing this game.
Another triumph for the Green Blob.

Jul 28, 2015 at 5:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

“I don't think there is a single reputable scientist who would support Mr Wilson's view …”.
I get it, “reputable” does eliminate Jimmy ‘death trains’ Hansen.

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

It looks like your Tony Blair is actually a Clinton family member. Clinton's are well known for monetizing their politics into personal wealth.
Paying former PM Blair millions a year for part time work on "political issues" (turning climate issues into money for his employers) is questionable at best.

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I guess it stems from here:

"Insurance companies could suffer a “huge hit” if their investments in fossil fuel companies are rendered worthless by action on climate change, the Bank of England warned on Tuesday."

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Martin Brumby,
You are experiencing something similar to what happened when the Roman Church became the state religion of Rome.
If one was not a member one was excluded from public life in many ways.
The climate obsessed are more serious about their obsession than has been generally recognized. Their evangelists have been working their ways to positions of influence in every area possible. Their apocalypse may be entertaining to rational people but they are deadly serious about seeing a new world where fossil fuels are banned. The destruction of economies, loss of life, degradation of quality of life, and as you experience reduction of freedom is not important to these heartless fanatics.
And what is least important of all is the lack of evidence to support their position. It is about their faith, not the evidence.

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

AXA already jumped....

France’s largest insurer will scrap holdings in coal companies because of concerns about climate change, broadening support for the fossil-fuel divestment movement to a major mainstream investor.

Axa SA Chief Executive Officer Henri de Castries said he’s working to sell 500 million euros ($559 million) of coal assets and triple “green investments” to 3 billion euros by 2020. He joined investors in Paris saying companies must act to contain global warming.

“There is one thing which is absolutely clear: If the warming goes beyond 2 degrees, it’s going to become tougher and tougher and probably impossible” for insurers to cope with damage to the environment, De Castries said in an interview on Bloomberg Television in Paris on Friday. “Insurers are the mirror of what happens in the economy and in the society. We try to increase what we do on the prevention side.”

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

The herd mentality of the insurance industry is going to be its undoing.
I wonder when we will see the energy industry start its own self insurance pool and bypass the big, insane, insurance combines?
Of course the way for the climate obsessed to stop that will be to get governments to refuse to recognize self insurance pools and combines, to demand bazillion dollar liability coverages to do any "fossil fuel" business. .
We have been foolish to laugh at those silly college kids demanding their schools sell stocks in energy companies. The busy bees of climate have been acting more like termites, eating away at the foundations of society and offering nothing but "green investments" (scams subsidized with tax payer money) in their place.
Who in the public square will have the temerity to stand up and point out that the green blob (far too kind a moniker) is doing real damage?

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter


I was considering buying some Aviva stock because their divis are pretty good just now.

Damn glad I didn't.

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

And hasn't Cameron taken this loon to Indonesia etc. on a trade mission? Do they know how deluded he is? I hope they have not all already been taken in by this nonsense.

Jul 28, 2015 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterCull the Badgers

It's interesting that this comes from Aviva when its namesake, Aveva, has lost the skills to make PWR vessel forgings, wich is why we will not get the planned nuclear reactors.

Unless a fix is found, e.g. new coal. mass CHP, millions may die in the UK as the inner cities collapse in the forthcoming new LIA. Wake up and smell the coffee folks; this is no joke. The loons like this Aviva guy and DC need to be put in padded cells PDQ.

Jul 28, 2015 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

When Blair joins any company to work on their "climate programme" you just know it's a scam. Like flies to sh*t.

Jul 28, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

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