Zurich — The environment of the global risk transfer industry is evolving rapidly. Driven by several forces, especially global warming, population growth, density of assets and the increasing vulnerability of aging infrastructure, the impact of hazardous events is continuing to rise. Calling itself an ultimate risk-taker, Swiss Re reported today that it will finance a new Chair for Integrative Risk Management at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). The Chair will be established to create a world-class global risk management research and education program.

ETH Zurich has a student body of nearly 14,000 students from 80 nations. Nearly 360 professors teach mainly in engineering sciences and architecture, system-oriented sciences, mathematics and natural sciences, as well as carry out research that is highly valued worldwide. On a yearly basis, ETH Zurich applies for 80 to100 patents, and directly supports the founding of up to 20 spin-off companies. Distinguished by the successes of 21 Nobel laureates, ETH Zurich is committed to providing its students with unparalleled education and outstanding leadership skills.

The Zurich, Switzerland-based reinsurer will provide 5 million Swiss francs over the next six years to finance the project, which aims to foster risk management research and education. The Chair is part of a strategic risk research initiative from ETH Zurich aimed at providing knowledge and tools for the concurrent management of technical, economic, natural and social risks within a geographical context. The professorship, funded by Swiss Re, will act as a focal point of applied risk research, establishing a global risk management education program. It will support the development of collaboration schemes with governments, universities and public-private partnerships.

“It is Swiss Re’s long-term aspiration to position Switzerland as a globally recognized risk management hub,” says Peter Forstmoser, chairman of Swiss Re’s board of directors. “The Risk Chair will be essential in fostering integrative risk management research and education based on prevention, preparation, response, recovery and risk transfer solutions–aiming at a more resilient society.”

Ralph Eichler, president of ETH Zurich, says Swiss Re has been associated with ETH Zurich for decades. “We are delighted to extend this cooperation to the field of risk management—a field in which both partners have extensive expertise,” he says.  “Presently, about 20 professors work at ETH in risk-related topics and the new Chair will combine this knowledge in a comprehensive way.

The partnership with ETH Zurich is a key element of Swiss Re’s Global Risk Engagement initiative, which recognizes the fundamental changes in the global risk landscape and its societal responsibilities. The initiative is based on Swiss Re’s risk management expertise and comprises selected partnerships to promote effective country risk management practices, support practical solutions for humanitarian challenges such as catastrophe prevention and instant disaster relief, as well as to develop new risk transfer solutions with governments and non-governmental organizations.

Source: Swiss Re

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