Using our expertise to increase resilience

As an insurer, Zurich specializes in mitigating risk. Working through the Z Zurich Foundation, we’re helping to improve lives and strengthen communities, increasing resilience in a variety of different ways. Today Z Zurich Foundation is publishing its Annual Report 2016.

What is the Z Zurich Foundation? It depends on whom you ask. In a community in Peru, the Foundation is an enabler, helping a partner organization to train community members to negotiate with local authorities to gain support in reducing flood risks. A caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient in Bermuda may know the Foundation thanks to a bit of respite they get during the ‘Cocktails for Carers’ evenings the Foundation funds. The rugby community in Ireland might have heard of the Foundation through the ‘Tackle Your Feelings’ program that encourages people to open up and talk about mental health issues. All of these things, and many more, describe the Foundation in action.

Our priorities for 2017 and beyond

Investing at both a global and local level

A non-profit organization funded by donations from the Zurich Insurance Group, the Foundation strives to improve people’s lives and give them a better future. One way it does this is through a global flood resilience alliance that helps communities to prosper despite the repeated threat of floods. The program includes on-the-ground work carried out by the flood resilience alliance members in Indonesia, Nepal, Mexico and Peru.

The Foundation also supports a variety of local programs, including those helping young people to develop skills to succeed in life. Other programs address mental and physical health issues, or local concerns, such as youth unemployment in Spain, or childhood obesity in Malaysia. These programs are designed and led by employees, who volunteer to raise funds, organize other employee volunteers and provide charities with skills and resources they need to expand.

Supporting our employees and the causes they support

In total, the Foundation supports Zurich employees in over 50 countries, including through donations. In 2016, employees volunteered over 80,000 business hours and raised close to CHF 2.5 million for local charities. This was further increased by CHF 770,000 in matching donations from the Foundation. Our employees used the funds from the Foundation to support the people who need it most: be it with a day trip to a local theme park for orphans in Poland, new equipment for remote schools in China or Christmas presents for disadvantaged children in New Zealand, these efforts can have a major influence on the lives they touch.

Learning from each other

Programs supported by the Foundation also benefit from the time, knowledge and skills of Zurich’s employees, who gain valuable personal experience and bring insights back into our business to help us improve our products and services. And, charitable organizations also can draw on our business acumen and expertise. For example, in 2016, risk engineers in Mexico helped a local charity to gain accreditation for the homes they build, enabling them to access further government funding. In Sweden, employees advised the charity they work with on its expansion strategy, helping it to branch out into other Nordic countries. In the U.S., Spain, Sweden, Bermuda and Austria, senior employees serving on the Boards of local charitable partners also contribute knowledge and expertise.

Read more about these and the many other projects supported by the ZZF in its latest Annual Report, available here.

The Z Zurich Foundation is a private foundation under Swiss law, funded by the Zurich Insurance Group, and the vehicle by which the Group delivers on its global community investment strategy. The Z Zurich Foundation supports the Zurich business to use its resources – namely employee experience and expertise, as well as financial resources – to help communities understand and protect themselves from risk.

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