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Zurich report shares lessons learned from 12 global disasters

Schaumburg, Ill, June 6, 2018

Pre-storm planning and “building back better” can significantly reduce losses from future weather events

A new report from Zurich Insurance highlights lessons learned from a dozen global weather events and encourages businesses and communities to focus on resilience to prepare for future storms. Zurich’s report is released at the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season and just months after one of the most destructive storm seasons on record.

“Coming off 2017 with three major hurricanes – Harvey, Irma and Maria – and what we just saw last week with subtropical storm Alberto, our findings are grounded in the perspective that while hazards are natural, disasters are not,” said Kathleen Savio, Chief Executive Officer of Zurich North America. “This report shows how we – individuals, businesses and communities – can build systems that enables us to live through natural hazards and better manage the impact they will have.”

The report entitled, “Extreme weather events: How hard lessons strengthen resilience against the next big event,” gleans critical insights from twelve of Zurich's global Post-Event Review Capability reports on how to effectively prepare and reduce risk in the face of severe weather events. Zurich’s analysis found that corporate risk managers face similar challenges regardless of where they operate or the particular hazards they face.

Some of the key findings from the report include:

  • Every dollar spent on disaster resilience saves five dollars in future losses,
  • Early warnings paired with contingency, emergency, and risk reduction planning can save lives and protect businesses, and
  • Risk managers and communities must "build back better" to strengthen resilience after a disaster strikes.

The report emphasizes that businesses and communities can reduce harm and lessen the economic impact of major storms through resilience strategies and contingency planning. Companies should understand their supply chain vulnerabilities and how risks are interconnected. A disaster in one area of the world can have major ramifications for the global economy, affecting businesses and communities everywhere. Communities, too, should recognize the vulnerabilities in their critical infrastructure to effectively strengthen resilience. Financial resilience, including insurance coverage, is a key aspect of any risk management strategy.

“The appropriate insurance coverage can help speed recovery, so that communities can rebuild faster and businesses can return to serving their customers. Zurich can provide this type of coverage, but we also work with our customers on risk reduction and resilience strategies to help them prepare for disasters. We have seen firsthand the importance of ‘building back better,’” Savio said.

To read the report, go to https://www.zurichna.com/en/knowledge/articles/2018/06/Extreme-weather-events 

Further information

Since 2013, Zurich has conducted twelve Post-Event Review Capability (PERC) reports on responses to natural catastrophes across the globe, including in Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Serbia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. These reports evaluate risk management and mitigation strategies, assess post-disaster responses, and identify how to best leverage the recovery phase to build resilience.

Zurich’s PERC methodology is an approach for understanding why a hazard becomes a disaster, and then from that, identifying entry points for building resilience. The PERC methodology is open-source and available to anyone who wants to conduct a post-event review. PERC studies and a manual that serves as a guide for conducting PERCs are available at https://www.zurich.com/en/sustainability/flood-resilience/learning-from-post-flood-events

About Zurich

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With about 53,000 employees, it provides a wide range of property and casualty, and life insurance products and services in more than 210 countries and territories. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, as well as multinational corporations. The 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 www.zurich.com.

In North America, Zurich is a leading provider of insurance products and services, including workers’ compensation, liability, property, specialty and F&I (finance and insurance) for a number of major industries, such as Construction, Auto Dealers, and Technology. It offers life insurance and disability coverage in the United States. Zurich employs approximately 9,000 people in North America. It’s a top-four commercial insurer in the U.S. and has been insuring U.S. businesses for more than 100 years. Further information is available at www.zurichna.com.