EP 36 – Carbon as Currency: Revolutionizing Insurance for a Net Zero Future – Coenraad Vrolijk – Founder of CarbonPool


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 130 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Coenraad is one of the founders of CarbonPool, building the world’s first regulated insurance and reinsurance company insuring net zero risks (unintended emissions, under-delivery of carbon removals, and permanence of carbon credits) with indemnification in certified carbon dioxide removals, thus making its clients immediately good on their insured net zero commitments. With a PhD in Economics from Brown University, Coenraad was a partner at McKinsey, an MD at BlackRock, and the regional CEO for Allianz across Africa. He has also served on the Boards of the International Baccalaureate, the African Reinsurance Corporation and the mobile microinsurer BIMA, as well as multiple Allianz insurance subsidiaries

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“We’re all going down the path to net zero. Every government signed it. Everybody sees climate change happening all around us; the floods in Dubai last week. I mean, you can write what you want about cloud seeding, but this is climate change. And it’s just going to get really, really onerous. So I think everybody is getting very sensitive to the fact we’ve got to get net zero. Net zero doesn’t solve the problem. Net zero just means the problem doesn’t get worse; we’ve reached peak problem. It doesn’t get worse after that. That’s what it means, right? But, it means that until we get to net zero in 2050, it gets worse every single year. Hopefully not too exponentially, but it’s getting worse every year. And we see that already happening today. The currency of that net zero transition is carbon.” – Coenraad Vrolijk⁠

In this episode of InsurTech Amplified, Coenraad Vrolijk, the Founder of CarbonPool⁠, shared deep insights into the intersection of climate change, innovation, and insurance. Coenraad emphasized that true innovation in insurance goes beyond mere technological tweaks and involves fundamentally rethinking how risks are managed. He illustrated this with his attempt to lower insurance costs by separating frequency and severity risks. Coenraad’s shift to a startup mindset allowed for quicker, more agile decision-making, crucial for driving substantial change.

He also discussed the critical role of carbon as the currency in achieving net zero emissions. He explained that traditional insurance products are ill-suited for carbon-related risks because they pay out in cash, which doesn’t address the underlying issue. CarbonPool innovates by creating a carbon-based balance sheet, enabling payouts in carbon removals instead of cash, aligning with the needs of companies committed to reducing their carbon footprint. With increasing regulatory demands and public disclosures around carbon footprints, CarbonPool’s approach positions it at the forefront of a significant shift in both the insurance and carbon markets.

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