Business challenge

To help communities around the world lessen the impact of major flood events, Zurich Insurance Group needed to demonstrate that proactive investments in resiliency truly pay off.


The insurer engaged IBM to develop a holistic framework for evaluating disaster readiness and verifying the effectiveness of resiliency-building measures, launching the tool in an IBM Cloud environment.


Launched a dynamic tool

for analyzing and boosting flood resiliency, teaming with IBM for expertise at the concept stage

Accelerated beta release

and managed costs with IBM Cloud technology and IBM development capabilities

Improved assessments

and resiliency planning for communities deploying the tool in a testing phase

Business challenge story

Encouraging proactive investments in flood resiliency

To help communities around the world lessen the impact of major flood events, Zurich Insurance Group needs to convince decision makers that investments in resiliency truly pay off. “Evidence suggests that for every dollar spent before a flood, a community saves USD 5 in costs afterward,” says David Nash, Foundation Manager at Z Zurich Foundation. “But to persuade people to shift priority from postevent funding to preevent funding, we have to demonstrate that there’s a measurable impact.”

The company wanted to develop a holistic measurement framework to help communities evaluate and verify the effectiveness of investing in resiliency before flood events occur. “We needed to create a bespoke solution enabling us to design and roll out questionnaires, get answers fed back to a secure data environment, and access that environment from all over the world,” says Nash. “The project’s global reach was probably the biggest driver toward a cloud-based solution.”

IBM has been really engaged as a partner in our development process from the beginning as opposed to just acting as a service provider.

David Nash, Foundation Manager, Z Zurich Foundation

Transformation story

Developing a cloud-based measurement framework

Based on a successful longstanding relationship, Zurich Insurance Group chose IBM to design, build and host its measurement tool. “When we identified the need for an IT solution, we discussed our requirements with an IBM team,” says Nash. “And it was really developing it from scratch.”

Although the insurer had considered using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to gather and evaluate data from various communities, IBM proposed a more efficient solution. “We needed to have a smooth interface between data capture and data analysis, which led to the development of a web-based front-end application,” says Nash. “As we were talking to the IBM developers creating that, it was an obvious solution to go down the route of using IBM Cloud as the delivery platform.”

Provisioning the public hosting resources in the UK IBM Cloud data center, IBM launched Zurich Insurance Group’s new platform for testing. “We have six different partners that are testing the tool at the moment,” says Nash. “These organizations are putting the tool in place in Mexico, Indonesia, Nepal, Haiti, Afghanistan and the US.”

Results story

Assessing flood preparedness more effectively

For Zurich Insurance Group, teaming with IBM was critical in transforming its rough vision for a measurement framework into a dynamic cloud-based tool. “IBM’s ability to incrementally evolve something that started off as an idea and build it into something that’s quite robust has been hugely beneficial,” says Nash. “IBM has been really engaged as a partner in our development process from the beginning as opposed to just acting as a service provider.”

Plus, IBM Cloud hosting technology and IBM development expertise helped the company launch its new tool more rapidly and cost-effectively than expected. “The project has not been expensive for us, and it’s been something that we can put into play very quickly,” says Nash.

When fully deployed, Zurich Insurance Group anticipates far-reaching impact for its platform. “Our tool is already enabling community organizations to really evaluate the situation on the ground, determine where the strengths and development areas are and, as a result, plan better interventions,” says Nash. “If this validation process stacks up and matches our anecdotal evidence, we’re onto a very powerful process for working with communities to assess and enhance flood resiliency.”


Zurich Insurance Group

Founded in 1872 and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Zurich Insurance Group offers a comprehensive portfolio of property, casualty, and life insurance products and services. The company’s 54,000 employees serve individuals, small businesses, midsize organizations and large companies in more than 210 countries and territories globally. Zurich Insurance Group helps finance Z Zurich Foundation, a private organization focused on making a valuable contribution to sustainable social and economic development.

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