AGCS sets up ESG organisation to drive sustainability, leadership

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By Favour Nnabugwu



Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has established a dedicated in-house organization for Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) activities including several high-level leadership roles and appointments.

With its new set-up, AGCS will work together with its customers on solutions and products to mitigate risks and maximize opportunities from the transition to a net zero economy. 

Gabrielle Durisch will join AGCS from Zurich Insurance Group in April 2023 as the new Global Head of ESG & Sustainability Solutions. In this role she will help evolve AGCS’s ESG & Sustainability strategy and work with all AGCS lines of business to drive the development of new insurance solutions including market opportunities in renewable energy, low-carbon technology, or sustainable construction and transport.

Ralf Heintges was appointed Global Head of ESG & Sustainability Governance in September 2022 and oversees the decarbonization of AGCS’s own insurance portfolio over the coming decades in line with Allianz Group’s membership in the UN-convened Net Zero Insurance Alliance (NZIA).

 Managing ESG topics in underwriting, Durisch and Heintges both work for AGCS Chief Underwriting Officer Specialty Dr Renate Strasser who assumes responsibility for all underwriting related ESG activities of AGCS. As AGCS’s Head of ESG Operations since July 2022, Katja Oristanio ensures that AGCS will effectively contribute to the ambitious Allianz Group targets for net zero operations by 2030 in its own business.

Transition in partnership

AGCS Chief Underwriting Officer Specialty Renate Strasser comments: “Tackling climate change and other ESG factors increasingly drive the agenda, both in business and society. At AGCS we are committed to realizing Allianz Group’s sustainability strategy and becoming an ESG leader in the corporate insurance segment. 

Our new ESG organizational set-up is now fully rolled out. We see this new business area as a priority for growth, focused on delivering impact and accelerating the path to a net zero world. Led by Gabrielle, Ralf and Katja we will drive engagement for sustainability topics across all our underwriting lines, Allianz Risk Consulting and core business functions. 

We will partner with our customers on their low-carbon transition, supporting them with new products and services and helping them mitigate increasing climate risk. The transition to a net zero economy can only be achieved in partnership and we are committed to do our part, together with our customers and supporting the climate partnerships of Allianz Group.”

AGCS’s sustainability journey

Sustainability has been an integral part of AGCS’s business for several years: ESG-related reviews of current or prospect business continue to be a core element of AGCS’s underwriting process. In addition, AGCS is implementing Allianz Group underwriting guidelines for providing coverage for fossil fuel sectors such as coal-based businesses (introduced in 2018) and, most recently, the oil and gas industry (April 2022). Already a major insurer wind and solar energy today, AGCS is committed to further expand its support for companies and projects in the renewable energy and green tech segment, for example for the fast-evolving hydrogen technology.

Biographies of AGCS’s ESG leadership team

Gabrielle Durisch joins from Zurich Insurance Group where she has been Global Head of Sustainability for Commercial Insurance and Group Underwriting since April 2020. She started at Zurich in 2011 and has held several leadership positions in Claims and Finance since then. Previously, she worked in roles spanning corporate tax, pricing, financial planning and M&A transaction services at Deloitte, General Motors and KPMG. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Geology from the University of Edinburgh and is a UK qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

Ralf Heintges has extensive underwriting experience over 30 years across Engineering and Construction lines of business as well as underwriting governance. He was appointed “Global Head of ESG & Sustainability Governance” at AGCS in September 2022. Prior to that, as Global Head of Underwriting Integrity & Solutions, he was responsible for harmonizing the underwriting approach on key topics and Allianz Group initiatives across all lines of business for AGCS.

Katja Oristanio has been Head of ESG Operations at AGCS since July 1, 2022. She joined AGCS from Allianz Reinsurance where she was Global Head of Protection and Resilience. She started at Allianz in 2009, first as Regional Sales Manager for Allianz Germany, then moving to corporate sustainability roles at Allianz SE and Allianz Reinsurance, including a position as Head of Risk Advisory for Renewables at Allianz Climate Solutions. She holds a master’s degree in international economics from the Berlin School of Economics and Law.

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