MCII Executive Board Members

Soenke Kreft (Executive Director)

Soenke Kreft leads the work of Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) which is hosted at United Nations University – Institute for Environmental and Human Security (UNU-EHS). He oversees the policy engagement and public sector strategy work to promote and improve risk sharing and risk transfer schemes for the benefit of climate impacted people and communities.

Mr. Kreft for his entire career has been deeply engaged in international climate policy and sustainability processes, having led the Climate Policy Team at the German NGO Germanwatch from 2013-2016.  This allowed him to provide major input to the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC) and also contribute to other initiatives, such as the G7 InsuResilience.

Prior to his role as Executive Director, Mr. Kreft was familiar with MCII for many years; he participated in the first phase of MCII’s project “Climate Risk Adaptation and Insurance in the Caribbean” in 2011, and was responsible for a large capacity development and agenda-setting programme with the Least Developed Countries group on climate-induced Loss and Damage, which in turn provided the rationale to launch the UNFCCC loss and damage thematic work and subsequent initiatives, such as G7 InsuResilience and the G20-V20 Global Partnership for Climate and Disaster Risk Finance.

See Sönke's profile on the Opens external link in new windowUNU-EHS website.


Peter Hoeppe (MCII Chair)

[retired] Head Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Centre, Munich Re

Prof. Hoeppe joined the Munich Reinsurance Company in 2004. He was appointed Head of the Geo Risks Research Department in January 2005 and retired from his post in 2017.

Before joining Munich Re Prof. Hoeppe has worked in different institutes at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and as a post doc at Yale University (USA). Most time of his university career Prof. Hoeppe spent at the Insitute of Bioclimatology and Applied Meteorology and  the Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. His academic education is in meteorology (Masters and PhD) and human biology (PhD).

His main areas of research are effects of atmospheric processes (heat/cold, UV radiation, air pressure fluctuations) and air pollutants (ozone, particles) on humans and the general assessment of environmental risks.

Prof. Hoeppe is scientific member of many scientific societies, from 1999 to 2002 he has been the President of the International Society of Biometeorolgy. He has held different expert functions in WHO and WMO. In 2007 Dr. Hoeppe has been appointed member of the Global Warming Advisory Board of the Bavarian State Government and Chair of the “Finance-Forum: Climate Change” of the high-tech Strategy of the German Federal Government. In July 2008 he has been awarded the Bavarian State Medal on merits for the environment. 


Christoph Bals (MCII Vice-Chair)

Executive Director Policy, Germanwatch

Christoph Bals is the Executive Director Policy of the NGO Gemanwatch, of which he is a founding member (1991). He was among the initiators of European Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the pro-Kyoto-campaign "e-mission55", and the initiative for climate consicous flying "atmosfair". He has been on the board of the "Foundation for Sustainability" since 1998. He is one of the three NGO-representatives in the German government's working group on emission trading since 1998; and a member of the advisory group of most ambitious German green investment index (NAI); in 2003 and 2004 he was in the National Advisory Committee for the Renewables 2004. Bals headed different successful campaigns (Rio Konkret, Climate Responsibility Campaign).


Armin Haas (MCII Treasurer)

Co-leader of the Economics & Cultures program at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam (IASS)

Armin Haas is co-leader of the Economics & Cultures program at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam (IASS), and leads the research line Integrated Risk Governance of the Global Climate Forum (GCF). At IASS his main research focus concerns the economic, ecological and social sustainability of the financial system. At GCF, his research focuses on innovative approaches for the management of large-scale complex uncertainties. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. Before joining IASS, he worked as senior scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and headed the research group Bayesian Risk Management.

Apart from being a co-founder of MCII, Armin Haas founded ‘TheCompensators’ together with colleagues from PIK, to reduce personal CO2 emissions via the ETS.

More Information can be found at his personal Opens external link in new windowIASS website.


Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer

Head of Risk Vulnerability Programme, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer is leader of the Risk and Vulnerability Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria.

Her current interest is global change and the risk of catastrophic events, and she is investigating options for improving the financial management of catastrophic risks in transition and developing countries. She and her colleagues have carried out extensive research on this topic and are developing options for the donor communities, as well as the climate adaptation community, to support insurance and other forms pro-active disaster assistance.

Other affiliations include the faculty of Beijing Normal University and the Science Committee of the Chinese Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management.


Thomas Loster

Chairman, Munich Re Foundation

Thomas R. Loster, a geographer, is the chairman of the Munich Re Foundation.

In his work with the foundation, he addresses many major global challenges related to environmental and climate change, such as water as a resource and risk factor, population growth and disaster prevention as well as preparing people who are exposed to risk situations or providing support for developed and developing countries. Mr. Loster is an insurance expert for different products from macro-scale disaster insurance down to microinsurance. For 16 years he was with Munich Re’s Geoscience Research Group where he was in charge of issues such as weather perils, climate change and climate policy as well as statistical analysis of worldwide natural catastrophes and trend analyses. Mr. Loster is a member of the German National Committee of the “UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development” and a member of the “German Council for Sustainable Development”.


Dirk Messner

Director, United Nations University - EHS

Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner is the director of the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, Germany. He is also the Co-Director of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/ Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

He is an internationally recognized expert on the topics of global change and global governance, the evolution of human cooperation, sustainability in the digital age, transformation pathways to sustainable development, decarbonization of the global economy and societal change.

Prof. Messner is a member of a number of high-ranking policy advisory councils and his engagements include co-chairing the German Advisory Council on Global Change, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Germany and the Science Platform Sustainability 2030. He previously also served as a member of the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Council and the China Council on Global Cooperation on Development and Environment. He is a member of the Earth League, an alliance of leading sustainability and earth system scholars.


Aaron Oxley

Executive Director, RESULTS UK

Aaron has been working in International Development for over a decade, primarily in microfinance, building organizations in the developing world to provide the poor with access to financial services including savings, loans and, most recently, three years with MicroEnsure focussing on microinsurance products including weather indexed crop microinsurance.

Originally starting as a volunteer, Aaron has been working with RESULTS for the last 10 years. In 2005 he joined the Board and in 2009 was appointed Executive Director. RESULTS works to empower ordinary people to learn about International Development issues and to become politically active, using their voices as citizens through lobbying and the media to create the public and political will to bring about the end of poverty.


Simone Ruiz-Vergote

Managing Director, Allianz Climate Solutions

Simone Ruiz-Vergote is heading the Climate Advisory & Policy team at Allianz Climate Solutions GmbH (ACS), the Allianz Center of Competence for renewable energy and climate change with its headquarter in Munich, Germany. ACS offers specialized consulting, insurance and investment expertise, serving other Allianz entities as well as external customers with its risk analysis, investment and insurance expertise.
At ACS, she is responsible for implementing the climate strategy for Allianz, advising individual Allianz units on risks and opportunities associated with climate change, and directly engages with business associations, academic institutions and policy makers regarding the intersections of climate change and the financial sector.
In her previous position, Simone closely monitored regulations on climate change, energy and financial markets in Brussels for a period of five years. This engagement started with an employment at Businesseurope - the leading European business association – followed by the position of EU head at the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), where she was responsible for advising companies on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. She started her career at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt in 2006.


Paul Kovacs

Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR)

Paul Kovacs is founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction at Western University. The Institute is a world-class, multi-disciplinary research centre based in Canada working with the insurance industry to identify best practices for society to adapt to climate extremes and build resilience to natural hazards.

Some of Paul’s international contributions includes work since 1996 as a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; a member of the World Meteorology Organization’s Society and Economic Research and Applications Working Group (SERA); a contributor to UNESCO’s International Flood Initiative; host of the 2014 annual conference of the International Society for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRiM); contributor to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR); and contributor to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative.