The theme of this year’s gathering of world leaders and business leaders is ‘Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’ and speaking before she left for Switzerland, Lloyd’s CEO, Inga Beale, said the actions of politicians and business leaders was the best way to restore the deficit of trust that exists between society and its institutions.

Inga Beale said:
“Many people are losing faith in the ability of the world’s political and economic systems to come up with the answers to the challenges they face. They feel that their societal and economic concerns – like globalisation, equality, the pace of technological change and eroding social values – are being ignored. We have to remedy this if we are to rebuild trust and faith in the system.

“There are no shortage of opportunities for us, as leaders, to take the action that can regain that trust. As CEOs I believe we need to think more carefully about our relationship with the wider world and how the decisions we make can affect public trust.”

Inga Beale stressed that the insurance sector had a role to play, built on a model of the market delivering on their promises to customers.

“When I think of the insurance sector. Our model is built on trust. If we don’t live up to our promise to pay then we lose customers. It is a cornerstone of our decision making whenever a claim comes in. We don’t get it right every single time. But we value above all else the bond of trust that exists between ourselves and our customers.”

She said that organisations had the power to respond to the expectation of people to be more responsible in the business decisions they made.

“I believe, for example, that there’s more the insurance sector could be doing to help the world transition to a low carbon economy. We can influence behaviour through our investments by choosing sustainable or low-carbon stocks, for example.

“We talk of social responsibility, which means we must consider our moral as well as commercial responsibilities. As business leaders we should be thinking how our activities can build trust and public confidence and not just focus on the bottom line.

“The insurance sector has a particularly important role to play in society. Our claims payments, for example, provide all manner of economic and societal benefits particularly in the aftermath of a disaster, by helping businesses reopen quickly, restoring vital public services like power, or clearing roads, railways and airstrips, so commerce can be restored or vital aid delivered to those in need.

“Meanwhile, the insurance decisions we make support many of the developments that benefit economies and communities. Take, for example, agricultural insurance, which protects crops in disaster prone regions against weather damage, giving farmers the confidence to invest in the future.

“Furthermore, the decisions we make on pay and on hiring a diverse workforce that reflects the world around us have the power to shape the society we live in. We can tackle distrust by fostering a more open and inclusive culture in our organisations, where differences are celebrated. Working together I believe we have the power to create a stronger, more resilient society, with inclusive prosperity for all.”