From protection to prevention: cooperative and mutual insurers will help address urgent challenge of disaster risk reduction says UNDRR and ICMIF report

Manchester (UK) 28 April 2021 – In a new, first-of-its-kind joint report, From protection to prevention: The role of cooperative and mutual insurance in disaster risk reduction, the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) identify seven practical mechanisms for how the cooperative and mutual insurance sector can help drive prevention and disaster risk reduction.

Based on an analysis of twenty case studies from ICMIF members around the world, the mechanisms provide a practical way for the cooperative and mutual insurance sector to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the global plan to reduce disaster losses adopted by UN Member States.

Speaking about the report and the partnership between ICMIF and UNDRR, Hilde Vernaillen, Chair of ICMIF and Chair of the Management Committee, P&V (Belgium) said: “ICMIF’s partnership with UNDRR seeks to freely share the work that our members are doing to prevent risk in a bid to inspire other insurers to follow their example. By reflecting on these 20 case studies, ICMIF and UNDRR have collaborated to synthesise this intelligence and create a best practice framework that any insurer could adopt.

“It is my sincere wish that our ambitions to encourage more widespread risk prevention are realised, for the sake of humanity and this incredible world that we inhabit. As we turn our attentions to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) scheduled to take place later this year in Glasgow (UK), I for one will be asking myself, how as a leader of an insurance company, can I do more to prevent hardship, pain and even death in the communities that I serve,” she concluded.

Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction said: “I have been so encouraged to witness the commitment and action of ICMIF members to shift the focus of such a substantive and catalytic industry from protection to prevention.”

Mizutori added that “Swiss Re Institute estimates USD 83 billion global insured catastrophe losses in 2020, the fifth costliest on record, combined with a looming global debt crisis which will – as usual – hit the most vulnerable countries, communities and people the hardest. The message could not be clearer: Our understanding of and approach to risk not only needs to be fundamentally re-examined, but the interconnectedness and cascading dimension of risk must inform policies, practices and investments.”

Mizutori concluded: “The insurance industry, and particular the cooperative and mutual sector with its focus on resilience, innovation and community engagement, is uniquely placed to inform and lead such work. ICMIF has a long tradition of supporting countries to enhance national and local disaster risk reduction action; its engagement in the negotiations towards the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction led to the inclusion of clear references to the need for private and financial sector and the regulators in driving and implementing disaster risk reduction.

ICMIF’s partnership with UNDRR

In November 2019, the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) began a multi-year collaboration to help address the urgent challenge of reducing disaster risks.

Specifically, the collaboration aims to identify what is needed in practical terms to enable a shift within the insurance industry from a focus on providing risk transfer products and services as a means to protect the insured from disaster risks, to an emphasis on prevention through disaster risk reduction incentives, awareness, capacity and financing. With a member-driven operating model, the cooperative and mutual insurance sector is uniquely positioned to take a lead in charting a practical path from risk protection to prevention.

While this report was prepared in the context of the cooperative and mutual insurance sector, it is meant as a source of inspiration for the insurance industry at large, showing that regardless of size, jurisdiction, market, strategic/operational focus, there are possibilities to prevent and reduce disaster risks

Launch details

On Friday 30 April 2021 at 12.00pm BST (UK time), ICMIF will host a webinar as the formal launch event for the report. The webinar will also showcase the first pilot projects from ICMIF member insurers working in collaboration with UNDRR to put the seven practical mechanisms into practice.

Webinar speakers will include:

  • Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)
  • Irina Zodrow, Head, Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement Unit, UNDRR
  • Ann Sommer, Senior Advisor and Former CEO, Länsförsäkringar Sak (Sweden)
  • Hilde Vernaillen, Chair of the Management Committee, P&V (Belgium) and Chair of ICMIF
  • Rob Wesseling, President and CEO, The Co-operators (Canada)
  • Moderated by: Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, The International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF)

Please click here to register for this webinar.

Please click here to download the report.


Notes to editors

For more information or photos, please contact Alison Grant, Communications Manager, ICMIF [email protected]

About ICMIF (see

With its global headquarters in the United Kingdom and regional associations in the Americas and Japan, ICMIF represents 203 values-based insurers in 63 countries. The mutual/cooperative represents 27% of the global insurance market by premiums and was the fastest-growing part of the global market in the 10-year period following the onset of the global financial crisis (Source: ICMIF Global Mutual Market Share 10)

ICMIF delivers unique networking opportunities, market and member intelligence and external relations services. It takes a strong lead in encouraging best practice amongst its member firms in key insurance issues, including: performance management, legal and governance, marketing, brand and reputation, reinsurance and social and environmental performance.

ICMIF is active in the microinsurance sector and, in particular, the ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy. The 5-5-5 Strategy is a project based in five emerging market countries which aims to provide five million households with insurance cover for the first time to take them out of poverty and build resilience in poor communities.

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UNDRR is the UN system focal point for disaster risk reduction. UNDRR’s vision is of a world where disaster risks no longer threaten the well-being of people and the future of the planet. Our mission is to provide leadership and support to accelerate global efforts in disaster risk reduction to achieve inclusive sustainable development and the goal of the Sendai Framework.


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