While the concept of sustainability is receiving growing attention from investors, firms, regulators, and researchers, little is known about its role in the insurance industry. As institutional investors and risk-absorbers from businesses and individuals, insurers adopt an operating model that is more inclined to target long-term objectives; they should be among the firms benefiting the most from engaging in sustainable practices. The existing literature provides evidence of the positive impact of sustainability on commercial stability, but this is the first study to examine this relationship for the insurance sector. Focusing on American listed insurers, we found that sustainability, proxied by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores, enhances the stability of insurers, and that this relationship is driven by environmental and social dimensions. We did not observe a significant contribution from the governance dimension. Finally, we found a stronger association for life insurers. Our results are shown to be robust to endogeneity, enterprise heterogeneity and potential sample selection biases.
- Environmental social and governance (ESG) scores