Zurich announces a strategic alliance with the IFRC as the foundation of its global flood resilience programme

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March 7, 2013 – Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) today announced a CHF 21 million five-year alliance with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The five-year commitment will serve as the foundation of Zurich’s global flood resilience programme, which aims to enhance community flood resilience by finding innovative ways to increase the impact of disaster risk reduction efforts at the community, national and global levels. The first country programme will take place in Mexico.

Flood resilience

Zurich has committed to this major flood resilience programme because floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural disaster, and are responsible for some of the largest economic, social, humanitarian and insured losses. The programme is being embedded within Zurich’s General Insurance business, making use of the organization’s insurance and risk expertise around the world.

Mike Kerner, CEO of General Insurance, said: “Floods are expected to have a growing impact due to natural factors, such as the increase in extreme rainfall events and rising sea levels, and man-made factors such as population growth and the number of homes and businesses in areas exposed to flooding. At the same time we believe that there is too little emphasis on pre-event flood mitigation, as opposed to post-event flood relief. This is a gap that Zurich can help fill because we have relevant risk management and insurance expertise.”

Zurich’s flood resilience programme will focus on developing and disseminating knowledge and expertise on flood resilience. It will have an impact at the local level through strategic long-term alliances with the public sector, NGOs, private sector organizations and academia, and will also look at the contribution insurance can make when it comes to flood risk.

The Z Zurich Foundation and the organizations it cooperates with play an important role in Zurich’s global flood resilience programme; an initiative that forms part of its broader corporate responsibility strategy.

Strategic alliance with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

To maximize the community impact of the program, Zurich has committed to a long-term strategic alliance on flood disaster risk reduction with the IFRC. Together with the IFRC, Zurich will enhance community flood resilience through the development and application of innovative disaster risk reduction solutions.

Bekele Geleta, Secretary General of the IFRC, said: “Combining the risk expertise of Zurich with the deep disaster preparedness expertise of the IFRC in this alliance – one of the largest private sector co-operations for our organization – will help to achieve a significant impact on communities at risk from floods, and will help reduce the devastating effects.”

Both Zurich and the IFRC, which first started working together in 2008, expect this alliance to become a model that can be replicated globally. The Z Zurich Foundation, following the strategic investment in the amount of $100 million US dollars made by Zurich last year, will invest up to CHF 21 million in the alliance over the five years to 2017. Zurich employees with relevant skills are also expected to collectively invest an average of 500 working days per year in the alliance.

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurance provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East as well as other markets. It offers a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services for individuals, small businesses, mid-sized and large companies as well as multinational corporations. Zurich employs about 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries. The Group, formerly known as Zurich Financial Services Group, is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through our 187 member National Societies. Together, we act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. We do so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

For further information:
Zurich Insurance Group Ltd Mythenquai 2, 8022 Zurich, Switzerland SIX Swiss Exchange/SMI: ZURN, Valor: 001107539

Media Relations phone +41 (0)44 625 21 00, fax +41 (0)44 625 26 41 twitter @Zurich_News

Linda Low, IFRC, Corporate communication, + 41 22 730 4288