Disaster support

As an insurer, our commitment to the communities in which we serve goes beyond building resilience to risk.

Working with the Z Zurich Foundation, we strive to secure lives and livelihoods through disaster support and relief efforts.

Through the Z Zurich Foundation, Zurich globally contributes to community disaster preparedness and relief, most notably through the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance, a multi-sector cooperation which focuses on finding practical ways to help communities in developed and developing countries strengthen their resilience to flood risk.

In November 2020, Zurich Australia & New Zealand, through the Z Zurich Foundation, invested AUD 2.58m to support bushfire and COVID-19 relief efforts.

Bushfire and Covid-19 relief in 2020

Supporting communities through disaster resilience was a major focus for Zurich in 2020 in relation to two major and unpredictable events: The Australian bushfires and COVID-19.

As of November 2020, Zurich Australia & New Zealand, through the Z Zurich Foundation, invested AUD 2.58m to support bushfire and COVID-19 relief efforts.

Our bushfire relief fundraising efforts saw ~AUD 1m donated to the Australian Red Cross, the NSW and QLD Rural Fire Services, and Country Fire Authority, as well as contributions to the AFL’s Bushfire Fund. This fundraising was supported by Zurich employees in Australia and overseas, their families and friends, our customers, suppliers and local distribution network of brokers and advisers. 

In the wake of the initial wave of COVID-19 in 2020, AUD 1.58m was donated to help local Australian and New Zealand communities. This funding was allocated by the Z Zurich Foundation, which pledged to support COVID-19 relief in every region in which Zurich operates around the world.

Emergency financial support was allocated to 23 different organisations associated with mental and physical wellness, homeless support, food security, and domestic violence. The funding was intended to help existing charitable partners meet an increase in demand for their services, adapt their services to the new (mostly virtual) environment, or maintain their sustainability in the face of reduced fundraising or other revenue sources. Support was also prioritised to nominated disaster relief initiatives, which provide support in terms of medical needs, mental health, food poverty, domestic violence or schooling (e.g. technology for home-schooling).

One of the largest recipients of this donation allocation was Foodbank Australia, who received AUD 1m. The money assisted Foodbank Australia with sourcing and distributing essential food and grocery items to around 2,400 charities around Australia who experienced a spike in demand given the economic downturn associated with COVID-19. The donation also assisted Foodbank to provide an estimated 2 million meals to the 1 in 5 Australians that go hungry every year.

As well as to Foodbank Australia, the funding allocation was shared across:

  • Zurich’s primary charity partners in Australia and New Zealand: Raise Foundation, Beyond Empathy, and Variety – the Children’s Charity.
  • Smaller grants divided between 19 other charities, including: Cerebral Palsy Alliance (STEPtember), Childhood Cancer Association, FareShare, Gosford Coast Homeless Shelter, Hutt St Centre, Kids Under Cover, Mr Perfect, Orange Sky, Our Watch, Reach Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, R U OK?, Share the Dignity, St Kilda Mums, Twenty10, Wear It Purple, Reach Out and Batyr.

Mental health research

Zurich and the Z Zurich Foundation are also supporting the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) to undertake research into mental health and wellbeing in a post-COVID environment. The research project is part of the Centre’s Pulse of the For-Purpose Sector study, which will perform a series of deep-dives into social issue areas. The project is a large scale, national project which will monitor social issue areas over time, revealing what works, for whom, and when. CSI will leverage its considerable expertise and networks to reveal how to create a more impactful, inclusive, and sustainable future for all people in Australia.

  1. The deep dive study into mental health and wellbeing will focus on five phases and deliverables:
  2. Strategic context, including a brief analysis of the key issues currently facing the mental health system
  3. Problem definition, exploring emerging vulnerabilities and service needs
  4. A summary of promising practice and new models of support
  5. Roundtables and public workshops with key stakeholders across Australia; and
  6. A final report, synthesising all of the above.

The study aligns to the Z Zurich Foundation’s efforts in improving mental wellbeing. It also supports Zurich’s MindFIT program, a multi-faceted initiative educating Zurich employees and stakeholders on mental health issues. Zurich’s focus on mental wellbeing in Australia includes work with advisers, customers, employees and community partners, including Tackle Your Feelings, the Raise Foundation and Beyond Empathy.

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