Aviva has underlined its sustainability commitments by expanding its underwriting appetite to include engineered timber (more commonly known as composite materials) in commercial developments. This follows a successful pilot, which saw the UK’s largest insurer working with a handful of developers on sustainable building projects. Composistes tend to be more resistant to weathering and repeated rainfall than real wood, so there’s less chance of doors warping in the frame for example.
In the UK alone, the built environment contributes 40% of carbon emissions. By working with contractors who want to build more sustainably, Aviva aims to help the construction and real estate sectors reduce their carbon footprint.
Although a growing number of developers are seeking to build more sustainable buildings for commercial use, insurer appetite for these risks has not kept pace. By putting significant underwriting capacity towards these projects, Aviva is demonstrating that risk management can support the UK as it moves to become climate-ready.
Aviva is one of the first UK insurers to commit dedicated underwriting resource for the development of more sustainable buildings. Working with contractors, brokers and owners from the design stage, the insurer is helping to ensure the resilience and repairability of buildings by using leading risk management strategies to safeguard them from water damage and fire.
Putting risk management at the centre of the design process can help to remove or mitigate these risks, while enabling a competitive and sustainable approach to insurance pricing.
Adam Winslow, CEO, UK & Ireland General Insurance, Aviva, said: “There are a growing number of developers looking to build more sustainably, both by using sustainable materials like engineered timber, and by adopting modern methods of construction. Aviva wants to embrace both: widening our underwriting appetite to insure commercial buildings using engineered timber, and using our risk management expertise to minimise associated risks.
“But we need to consider the carbon footprint of a building over its lifetime. If a building is designed to be replaced in the event of a relatively minor incident well within its design life, then it cannot be considered sustainable. Modern methods of construction that focus on resilience and repairability are critical to helping developers balance sustainability commitments with the safety of building users and the communities that they inhabit.”
Header image courtesy of Donaldson Timber Engineering.