Our approach to materiality considers how our business creates value for all stakeholders across the short, medium and longer-term horizons. Aligned to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, we assess our economic, environmental and social impacts across the value chain (including positive, negative, actual and potential) on stakeholders, society at large and on our business.

2022 Materiality Assessment

The priority material topics remain climate-focused, with an emphasis on how we manage our risks and opportunities related to climate change, especially in responsible underwriting and investments. We recognise important topics include the global competition for talent, protecting our customer and corporate data, and using technology to innovate, and improve our products and solutions. This year, the top 12 priority material topics globally have seen ‘ESG risk management’ and ‘Responsible investments’ overtake ‘Affordability and accessibility’ and ‘Leadership and talent’, as the spotlight falls on how businesses are responding to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.  

The results of our materiality assessment inform our sustainability approach, strategic priorities and reporting. QBE undertakes a full materiality assessment every two years, with a desktop review in interim years. In 2021, we undertook a comprehensive materiality assessment, with the assistance of a third-party consultant to ensure continued independence and rigour in our process. In 2022, we updated the 2021 assessment through a desktop review which included insights from meetings with investors, peer benchmarking, and thought leadership from external sources. We also mapped our findings to QBE’s strategic priorities, top risks and UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

The following provides an overview of the key aspects of the full materiality assessment methodology carried out in 2021:

Methodology overview 

Sustainability topics are identified using both internal and external inputs. This involves gathering perspectives from a wide range of sources and included internal and external stakeholder engagement. We continue to align our materiality process to:

  • the GRI Reporting Principles for defining report content and report quality including Stakeholder Inclusiveness, Sustainability Context, Materiality and Completeness;
  • AccountAbility’s AA1000 AccountAbility Principles (AA1000AP) 2018 of Inclusivity, Materiality, Responsiveness and Impact; and
  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of the process, we engage a diverse range of stakeholders including investors, employees, community groups, industry associations, business partners, suppliers and think tanks. Our stakeholders are selected to ensure balance and coverage between themes and topics. Stakeholders participate in one-on-one interviews with an independent facilitator, enabling a discussion of the issues ranked as most significant by each stakeholder. The process enables us to understand our stakeholders’ unique needs, expectations, perceptions or concerns. 

As part of our broader approach to sustainability, we also regularly consult with our stakeholders to help us identify risks and opportunities to gain the insights we need to ensure that our strategy, initiatives, products and services continue to meet our stakeholders’ needs.

The sustainability topics identified are mapped to our Sustainability Framework to ensure coverage of the risks and opportunities relevant to us as an international insurance and reinsurance company.

The identified topics are reviewed, consolidated, and prioritised. The results of this review are used to update our materiality matrix. Each topic is positioned on our revised materiality matrix consistent with the three different stages of relevance and maturity:

Priority – Topics of high importance to our stakeholders, with a significant impact on the environment, economy and society. These require significant management and strategic focus.

Ongoing and emerging importance – Topics of strategic significance for which we have well-established management processes, or where topics have increased in importance since the last reporting period Stakeholder interest in these topics may vary.

Monitor and Manage – Topics of increasing relevance to us, or of significance to particular stakeholder groups, warranting further analysis and management.

On completion of the revised materiality matrix, an internal validation workshop is held with the Sustainability Committee, and other senior internal stakeholders, to test and validate the assumptions used, and the outcomes. This considers the impacts of each topic in the short, medium and longer-term and the potential influence on stakeholders’ perception. 

The final outcomes are then presented to, and approved by, the GEC and BRCC.