Madrid, 2 November 2021.
ICEA, the research service of the Spanish insurance sector and the body entrusted with compiling and publishing all sector statistics, presented its study “Investment in R&D and corporate responsibility” today, 2 November.
The study, which included the participation of some of the most important insurance companies in our country, reveals that this sector has a high degree of social commitment, with 85% of the organisations maintaining an active corporate responsibility policy and allocating €112 million a year to initiatives, such as cultural patronage, social action and road safety, among others. Furthermore, eight out of ten organisations say that they take into account the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) when making decisions in this area.
The report has been sponsored by Kaudal, a company specialised in financing the R&D&I ecosystem in Spain through Technological Patronage, and provides an exhaustive analysis of the sector, addressing issues such as policies related to the environment, sustainable investment and R&D investment.
The study points out that CSR acts in synergy with social impact investment, the objectives of which range from promoting research in science and technology and improving people’s lives to strengthening the innovative capacity of the country’s business fabric. In this regard, if we observe the investment figures for the last year, we can see that impact investment in Spain increased by 26% in 2020. An increasing number of companies are taking social, environmental, governance and social impact factors into account. Investment in R&D has established itself as one of the innovative channels that currently generates the greatest social impact in the medium and long term. However, in 2019, around 49.1% of R&D expenditure was financed by R&D&I companies themselves, indicating a lack of awareness on the part of the private sector of the existence of instruments that allow them to include R&D in their investment strategy and portfolio.
As far as the insurance sector is concerned, its investment in R&D is currently low, with 68.5% of the surveyed organisations investing in R&D less than 1.0% of their turnover. In contrast, three out of four insurance companies would increase their R&D portfolio if they were more aware of the instruments that allow them to engage in this type of investment. In this respect, 98.3% of the organisations believe that the resources allocated to R&D projects in Spain should be increased. Undoubtedly, the insurance sector, as a recipient of private savings, plays a decisive role in financing and promoting this type of investments/projects.
In order to reflect on all these issues and to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the insurance sector and the importance of CSR as a value asset in a company, ICEA, in collaboration with Kaudal, presented the results of this report in an in-person meeting at the association’s headquarters. The presentation of the study was followed by a panel discussion on “Investment models in R&D&I as a driver of CSR in the insurance sector”, in which leading voices from the sector and the R&D&I ecosystem took part.
“We have to assume that every decision we make has to have a positive impact on society, this is something that the insurance sector has in its DNA and this has to extend to how and in what we invest”, said Ernesto Mestre, Deputy General Manager of Finance and Risks at Mutua Madrileña.
“CSR improves the company’s image and gives value to the organisation, it has a collateral benefit because it attracts and retains talent, builds customer loyalty, avoids reputational risks… CSR actions give value to the markets”, declared Asunción Martín, partner in charge of the insurance sector at PwC Tax & Legal Services.
Alfonso Rosillo, Tax Director at ARQUIMEA, stated that “R&D investment has economic and social returns. It is, therefore, aligning public policy and CSR objectives. It is a mechanism that has been promoted through public directives to channel capital towards strategic sectors”.
As a counterpoint to the investing company, the company Mensoft was represented by its General Manager Alberto Cabezas, who pointed out that “investments in R&D are very beneficial due to their profitability and because you commit to ideas and leave something to society. Even if the project is not completed, the research has been undertaken and someone will be able to take advantage of that knowledge and continue it”.
ICEA was founded in 1963 and set up as the research service of the Spanish insurance sector, being the body entrusted with compiling and publishing all sector statistics.
It also carries out research work on issues related to insurance practice, with the goal of analysing market trends and behaviour, as well as providing training and consultancy services on matters that affect insurance activity.
ICEA currently has more than 216 member companies, representing more than 98% of the sector’s premiums. ICEA holds the Gold Medal for Merit in Insurance and is a group member of the European Conference of Insurance Vocational Training Institutions, currently comprising 25 countries.
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It is a company dedicated to financing R&D&I projects through private investment. Its aim is to contribute to promoting R&D&I in Spain by supporting the development of new technologies and innovative products, favouring the transfer of knowledge and its market access.
The company is a leader in Technological Patronage, a means of financing R&D&I based on tax incentives applicable to research, development and innovation. It is an instrument that provides a high financial/tax return to the investor, while enabling the promotion of projects with a social impact.