03 July 2018

Flood Resilience Alliance in five-year extension will focus on US$1 billion increase in investments

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) announced today that after five successful years its Flood Resilience Alliance (the Alliance) will be extended until 2023.

© Marc Bruxelle / Shutterstock

© Marc Bruxelle / Shutterstock

In the last five years, a multi-sector alliance of the NGO sector, research partners including IIASA, and Zurich’s risk management experts has focused on shifting from the traditional emphasis on post-event recovery to stress pre-event resilience. More than 110 communities in nine countries have benefited from alliance projects. The evidence-based approach built through dozens of research papers published and implemented in the community programs across the globe illustrates the value of investing in flood resilience.

Flood resilience, however, continues to have trouble gaining wide acceptance and is held back by a lack of investment. According to the ClimateWise Investing for Resilience report, of US$175 billion in 2016 economic losses related to natural hazards (of which floods are a major part ) only US$50 billion were insured. This US$125 billion protection gap is due in part to the lack of evidence of “what works” and because there are few incentives and regulations to encourage investments into sound protection measures at all levels of society. That is why the objectives for the next five-year period will be:

  • Generating US$1 billion in additional funding for flood resilience
  • Encouraging effective public policy in support of flood resilience
  • Developing sound practices and policy support for flood resilience
  • Measurably enhancing flood resilience in vulnerable communities across the world.

“Floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural hazard and cause some of the largest economic, social and humanitarian losses,” said Linda Freiner, Group Head of Sustainability. “By using Zurich’s risk expertise as a global insurer, we can help customers and communities reduce the devastating impacts of floods - even before a flood hits - and build resilience to this disaster. We will work with our partners to drive US$1 billion into building resilience to floods globally – and save lives.”

Alliance members aim to achieve the financial target by rolling out best-practice community programs that will prove the value of resilience-building. The partners will generate and share knowledge about the existing and future achievements to encourage various stakeholders to invest in resilience.

Zurich is looking forward to working with the NGOs Concern Worldwide, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies(IFRC), Mercy Corps, Plan International and Practical Action as well as research partners International Institute for Applied Systems and Analysis (IIASA), the London School of Economics and the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International (ISET).

Michael Szönyi, Flood Resilience Program Lead, said: “By building flood resilience we understand how a community, system or society can pursue its development and growth objectives while managing flood risk in a way that benefits them all. The members of the flood resilience alliance provide a credible critical mass of expertise across sectors and geographies to demonstrate, inform and inspire global stakeholders and decision-makers to invest in flood resilience.”

IIASA Risk and Resilience Deputy Program Director Reinhard Mechler says: “IIASA is glad to continue its affiliation with the Flood Resilience Alliance, a unique partnership for informing transformational change for dealing with the large and increasing burdens flood risks have on lives and livelihoods across the globe. We will continue to bring in hard and soft systems science insight for understanding, measuring and shaping flood resilience in communities across the globe as well as providing decision support for enhanced investment at national and global levels to build resilience.” 

Print this page

Last edited: 11 July 2018


Reinhard Mechler

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program


Zurich Media Relations

Neil Gordon-Henderson, Pavel Osipyants

Tel: +41 44 625 21 00

More information

Flood Resilience at IIASA


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313