QBE makes allocation to impact investment fund

QBE Insurance Group (QBE) has invested in Save the Children's Impact Investment Fund, as part of its dedicated Impact Investment program, Premiums4Good.

QBE is the anchor investor in the fund, and the six million-dollar close will enable Save the Children to start investing in the social enterprises in its pipeline, in Australia and around the world.

The Save the Children Impact Investment fund opened to investors in January and is aimed at supporting enterprises that emphasise social innovation and address pressing social and humanitarian issues. The fund will focus on edtech, ehealth and fintech innovations improving the lives of disadvantaged children and families.

Premiums4Good was launched across QBE's European Operations in 2015 and piloted in Australia through its Elders insurance in 2016, QBE said. Currently the portfolio stands at US$904 million in impact investments, said Gary Brader, QBE Insurance group chief investment officer.

"We recognise the need for leading institutional investors to play a bigger part in investing with consideration of not only the financial returns but also the social and environmental returns," Brader said. "Our Premiums4Good initiative has been investing in impact investments for five years now, and we are delighted to be able to be the anchor investor with Save The Children in this important fund.

"This investment, with its deep impact, supports our ambition to grow our impact investment allocation to US$2 billion dollars by 2025."

When the fund was announced, Save the Children intended to raise at least $10 million in private capital in an initial offering. The first close was an "important and exciting milestone," said Save the Children Australia's CEO Paul Ronalds.

"Our fund is about creating solutions to some of the world's most complex problems," Ronalds said. "The fund will invest in enterprises working to improve the lives of vulnerable children. We are all about helping entrepreneurs and start-ups scale faster. Investors were attracted to the fund's ability to source investment opportunities from within its global network and add value to these businesses following an investment."

QBE's Premiums4Good portfolio has, to date, invested in 66 enterprises including social impact bonds, social bonds, green bonds and infrastructure - supporting a range of initiatives from renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure, to social services and programs to support vulnerable people and communities around the world.

In 2018, QBE told FS Sustainability that while QBE is not altering its finical return obligations for the portion of investment funds derived from the Premiums4Good, social and environmental impact investments potentially have a different asset exposure and profile that may lead to risk or return diversification.

At the time, QBE told FS Sustainability investments included allocations to the South Australia Aspire social impact bond, the Benevolent Society Social Benefit Bond in New South Wales, and the World Bank's IFC Green bond.

Read more: QBE Insurance GroupGary BraderPaul RonaldsSave the Children Impact Investment Fund
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