Public Policy Issues

What is Zurich Advocacy?

Zurich Advocacy works to support and promote a competitive and efficient insurance market. To best serve our customers, Zurich advocates for public policies that will enable Zurich to provide our insureds with more cost effective risk mitigation opportunities. Zurich Advocacy details our position on a number of public policy issues and highlights in greater detail our views on Zurich’s Pandemic Risk Concept, Crop Insurance and U.S. Investment.

Learn More

Public Policy Issues

What is Zurich Advocacy?

Zurich Advocacy works to support and promote a competitive and efficient insurance market. To best serve our customers, Zurich advocates for public policies that will enable Zurich to provide our insureds with more cost effective risk mitigation opportunities. Zurich Advocacy details our position on a number of public policy issues and highlights in greater detail our views on Zurich’s Pandemic Risk Concept, Crop Insurance and U.S. Investment.

Learn More

Where We Stand

Apprenticeships

ZURICH’S POSITION:

Investing in apprenticeships is an investment in our company, our industry and the U.S. workforce. Zurich aims to bring new entrants of all ages into the insurance industry workforce by building a talent pipeline and developing people who can help our business and the industry grow in the 21st century.

BACKGROUND:

Zurich established a first-of-its-kind U.S. apprenticeship program for the insurance industry that resembles a program that has been successful for many years at its Switzerland headquarters. In 2020, Zurich committed to training at least 100 apprentices through the new program and reached their goal. The program will continue to expand by adding 27 new apprentices in 2021 in Atlanta, New York City, Schaumburg and Anoka. Our experience in Switzerland has shown us that apprenticeships are a very powerful way of developing core business competencies, inspiring people to take on new challenges and nurturing future leaders. Zurich, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, is sharing its learnings from developing a successful apprenticeship model with other insurance and financial services companies throughout the U.S. Our forward-thinking approach to talent acquisition has encouraged other insurance and financial service providers to create their own apprenticeship programs.

Autonomous Vehicles

ZURICH’S POSITION:

As a world with driverless cars continues to evolve, Zurich is working to shape a stable, safe regulatory landscape for the future. Zurich is leveraging its relationship with manufacturers and testers of AVs to promote safety standards, tackle data needs, and address liability issues in both the government and private sectors. We aim to help shape the discussion in a positive way as this innovative technology continues to expand into the marketplace.

BACKGROUND:

With the advent of autonomous vehicles, federal and state lawmakers and industry leaders are wrestling with the regulatory changes that will become necessary. How should existing laws and systems be modified so as to facilitate the implementation of this new technology? Who should be liable in an accident? The human “rider” or the automobile manufacturer? The current liability system – a combination of auto liability and product liability – should be sufficient in today’s testing environment. But in a few short years, putting in place a stable, predictable regulatory environment is a must. Data issues are paramount to that discussion. Currently, there are no standardized data elements to determine why an autonomous vehicle crashed. Vehicle data is also necessary to underwrite and rate the business. The desired amount of data and who owns that data raise significant privacy issues and are a subject of intense discussion. In addition, there is increased potential for cybersecurity threats as vehicles become more connected. Finally, of course, safety is a concern. In all these facets – liability, data, privacy, underwriting, and safety — keeping up with a fast-evolving industry will be challenging for policy-makers and regulators.

Big Data/Digitalization

ZURICH’S POSITION:

The use of predictive analytics allows Zurich to better understand risk by making use of “big data.” This results in a more accurate price of risk, which in turn allows Zurich to insure risks that previously have been seen as uninsurable. Also, Zurich’s deeper insights into risk can be shared with policyholders and used for claims prevention and mitigation.

BACKGROUND:

Predictive analytics refers to insights realized by the increased availability of data, the enhanced capacity of analysis, machine learning and the ability to connect and jointly analyze all kinds of data from multiple sources, hence the term “big data.” Predictive analytics allows insurers to more accurately underwrite and rate insurance coverage. This in turn may bring about societal benefits, through the creation of insurance coverage for previously uninsurable risks, while also creating risk insights that will help policyholders to mitigate or even prevent losses.

Climate/Sustainability

ZURICH’S POSITION:

Climate change is perhaps the most complex risk facing society today—it is intergenerational, international and interdependent. Zurich is committed to helping its policyholders and their communities mitigate against the effects of climate change, while at the same time committed to taking action to help bring about the transition to a low-carbon economy.

BACKGROUND:

Zurich works closely with its policyholders, their communities and local governments around the world on resilience and mitigation efforts in regard to climate-related perils. At the same time, Zurich is working to do its part to reduce CO2 emissions, in an effort to bring about a low-carbon economy. Zurich is working to minimize the environmental impact of its own operations, increasing the amount of our “green investments” and divesting over time from those activities, be it insurance or investments, predominantly focused on coal.

Commercial Lines Modernization

ZURICH’S POSITION:

Large commercial enterprises are best served when insurance companies can quickly develop and bring to market new and innovative products that meet the insurance coverage needs of these businesses. Commercial lines modernization would allow insurance carriers to get these products to policyholders more quickly and efficiently.

BACKGROUND:

Policy rates and forms for personal lines policies and most commercial lines policies require state department of insurance approval in most states. This approval process is oftentimes difficult and time-consuming. Additionally, most large commercial customers have professional risk managers to evaluate commercial insurance offerings, eliminating the need for state approval of coverage. Commercial lines modernization would allow these customers to get the coverage they need more expeditiously, by allowing new products, products developed to better meet the needs of complex businesses, to get to market quicker.

Crop Insurance

ZURICH’S POSITION:

As a leading provider of crop insurance through Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS), Zurich supports crop insurance for American agricultural producers delivered by private sector providers and agents. We advocate for public policy positions to protect crop insurance and private sector delivery.

BACKGROUND:

Crop insurance is the primary risk management tool that farmers and ranchers have against weather and market volatility. It requires them to elect coverage levels in advance of planting, share in the cost of premium for coverage, and meet a deductible in the claims process. Crop insurance is valued by farmers, lenders, input suppliers, equipment dealers, and other stakeholders for the financial stability it provides to rural America.

Cybersecurity

ZURICH’S POSITION:

Zurich supports a national, uniform standard on data security and breach notification. Advocacy efforts include sharing Zurich’s comprehensive approach to helping clients manage cyber risk through preparedness, risk transfer, and resilience measures.

BACKGROUND:

Cybersecurity is a growing threat with global implications to both commercial and national security interests. Our objective is to be a market leader in providing innovative solutions to our policyholders as they seek to protect themselves from cyber risk, while also being a thought leader at the forefront of our industry.

DIEB

ZURICH’S POSITION:

We have a unique opportunity to use our role as a global insurer, to drive proactive change in the insurance industry on diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging issues. As a leader on many other issues, we can use our expertise and reputation to be a leader within our trade associations and among our peers.

BACKGROUND:

We have the following achievements to-date regarding diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging:

  • Since 2012 Zurich formed Nine Employee-led Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) including: Emerging LeaderZ, PrideZ, VETZ, WIN, ZAAA, Z3A, LUZ, Good NewZ and AbilitieZ
  • Launched ZNA Executive Diversity & Inclusion Council (EDIC) in 2020
  • Developed HR Competencies Resource for different levels: Beginner, Practitioner, Expert, and Thought Leader
  • Joined more than 1,000 businesses in signing a CEO Action Pledge to address head-on concerns and needs of our diverse employees and increase equity for all, including our colleagues who are Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, LGBTQ+, disabled, veterans and women in 2020
  • Upon our Day of Togetherness Zurich observed Juneteenth in 2020
  • Added Martin Luther King Jr. Day to Zurich’s U.S. holiday calendar in 2021
  • Formed a DIEB Committee in Legal Services in 2020 – Government Affairs is a part of Legal Services
  • Through the Z Zurich Foundation, Zurich plans to provide a grant to Year Up, whose mission is to close the opportunity divide by bringing together talented students and top companies to launch careers and build community
  • Financial contributions will be made to the Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in support of their missions to fight for racial justice

Flood Resilience

ZURICH’S POSITION:

Using our risk expertise as a global insurer, we can help customers and communities to reduce the impact of floods by helping them understand the benefits of pre-event mitigation and resilience.

BACKGROUND:

As part of our Corporate Responsibility commitment, Zurich recognizes that there is a significant need and opportunity to have a meaningful impact in reducing vulnerability and in building community resilience before disasters occur. Floods affect more people globally than any other type of natural disaster and precipitate some of the largest economic, social, humanitarian, and insured losses. Zurich’s flood resilience program is intended to enhance community flood resilience by leveraging its unique and substantial experience in order to create sustainable value for our clients, our communities and our company.

Infrastructure

ZURICH’S POSITION:

As a leading provider of insurance coverage for infrastructure projects in the United States, Zurich has a keen interest in how the public sector at all levels and the private sector can coordinate a unified strategy to address the nation’s infrastructure needs. As dollars flow from the federal government to states and localities, so should the requirement of surety bonds. Surety bonds help protect taxpayers in conventionally bid federal project (via the Miller Act) and should also be required for P3 projects with federal and state funding.

BACKGROUND:

The American Society of Civil Engineers rated the overall infrastructure in the U.S. as a C-. Infrastructure is the backbone of the U.S. economy and as the condition of our roads, rails, ports and waterways fall into disrepair, this brings unseen costs into our economy. Our economy, however, is transforming, and in order to remain competitive, our infrastructure too should reflect the 21st Century. This is a transformational time and over the last 100 plus years, Zurich has insured iconic U.S. infrastructure projects that have carried us into the future.

Pandemic Risk Concept

ZURICH’S POSITION:

At Zurich, we strongly believe there is a role for the insurance industry to play in the creation of a sustainable, cost-effective pandemic solution to meet the needs of current and future customers. The insurance industry is aware that pandemic is not an insurable risk and, thus, generally, our products do not provide such coverage. As we see it, the answer lies in a public-private collaboration between insurers and government.

BACKGROUND:

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic impacted the world in ways not experienced since the influenza pandemic of 1918. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee such an event might not occur again, once more disrupting the lives of individuals and businesses around the globe.

Tax Issues

ZURICH’S POSITION:

In terms of federal issues, the Tax Cuts and Jobs act of 2017 generally has a positive impact on our business operations. Going forward, Zurich will work to ensure any future changes do not produce a competitive disadvantage. On the state level, tax codes should not unfairly target insurers for revenue.

BACKGROUND:

Our focus is turning from the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to new proposals that will be forthcoming from the Biden administration and Democratically controlled Congress. They will seek a shift in tax policy from the direction of the last administration. Zurich may be aligned with others in the business community around some proposals. Other proposals may have a more acute impact on Zurich such as any that would adversely impact the U.S. operations of a company with a foreign headquartered parent.

Tort Reform

ZURICH’S POSITION:

We help our customers and communities by advocating for civil justice reform in order to achieve a fairer legal system that promotes economic growth and opportunity.

BACKGROUND:

Tort reform is a critical area for lawmakers as they consider proposals to discourage what many describe as excessive or frivolous lawsuits. These lawsuits can have negative ramifications for society by raising the cost of goods and services while also limiting innovation. A 2018 U.S. Chamber of Commerce study analyzed data and reported an estimate of the costs and compensation paid in the U.S. tort system. The study found that figure to be $429 billion or 2.3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Breaking down the tort system costs further, the study found only 57 percent of the costs were paid in compensation to plaintiffs while the remaining 43 percent covered the cost of litigation, insurance expenses, and risk transfer costs. This reveals both an enormously consequential economic impact as well as a relatively inefficient system for delivering compensation.

U.S. Investment

ZURICH’S POSITION:

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is one of the key drivers of the United States’ economic success. According to a recent report* from the Global Business Alliance, global investment supports jobs of more than 24 million U.S. workers – that’s one in seven private-sector jobs. U.S. workers at FDI firms earn 33% higher wages than the economy-wide average. This global investment helps fuel America’s innovation advantage, supports world-class workforce training programs, helps U.S. small businesses succeed through locally-sourced supply chains, and helps build stronger communities from corporate support and employee engagement. Policymakers should encourage, rather than do anything to discourage, global investment in the United States.

*Statistics above from Global Business Alliance June 2016 Jobs We Need Report

BACKGROUND:

Zurich values its role as both an employer and taxpaying corporation in the U.S. Zurich has been doing business in the U.S. for over 100 years, and is a significant contributor to the American economy. Zurich employs more than 8,500 people in the U.S., including more than 2,000 at its new headquarters building, which was awarded the LEED Platinum ® certification, the highest rating possible, for the facility’s environmental sustainability initiatives.

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