• Blog
  • Volunteering: this week and every...

Volunteering: this week and every week

This is a special week for Zurich Insurance and the City of New Orleans. The Zurich Classic PGA TOUR event is taking place this week at TPC Louisiana and will wrap up on Sunday. I’m very proud of Zurich’s sponsorship of this event because of what it symbolizes about the company’s commitment to New Orleans and our efforts to help build resilient communities.

This week also happens to be National Volunteer Week. In keeping with the spirit of the week, 85 Zurich employees are pitching in with SBP to help rebuild more homes impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The work that Zurich employees do on these rebuild projects, from drywalling to painting and hammering, are great examples of the theme of National Volunteer Week: Service Unites. While it is important to highlight these themes during this week, Zurich’s commitment to volunteering and the positive results that can be achieved through service are an important part of our company culture all year long.

Theo Watson2 1
Theo Watson1
SBP client, Mr. Watson addresses Zurich Volunteers in front of his Lower 9th Ward home

Zurich employees began volunteering with SBP in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Over the years, our staff has helped rebuild and bring nearly 90 families in New Orleans back into their homes. As SBP expanded its mission, taking what it learned from New Orleans about reducing the amount of time it takes to get communities back up and running following a disaster, Zurich and its employees have played an important role donating their time to help share that knowledge.

In 2014, Zurich committed a $3 million grant to SBP through the Z Zurich Foundation. The grant helped fund SBP’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab (DRRL). The Lab is not a physical place but a way of working. Through the Lab, SBP provides training to individual home and business owners in how to better prepare for a disaster and avoid the common pitfalls of recovery such as contractor fraud. SBP also advises local and state governments on how best to deploy Federal disaster recovery dollars. Additionally, SBP trains other organizations in its rebuilding model, including other non-profit organizations dedicated to disaster recovery and resilience.

Zurich employees played a critical role in developing the curriculum SBP delivers to home and business owners through the DRRL. Employees from our Risk Engineering and Learning and Development contributed hundreds of skills-based hours to make the DRRL a success and empower people in communities at risk of a disaster to become more resilient.

As I mentioned above, volunteering is not a one-week-a-year exercise at Zurich. In 2016, 3,668 Zurich employees in North America donated 27,430 volunteer hours through more than 725 service projects, or the equivalent of $633,000 impact. The collaboration between SBP and Zurich to bring the DRRL to life demonstrates that there are many ways to volunteer. Some of the most valuable things people can donate to a cause in addition to their time and money are their skills and knowledge.

In fact, I believe that skills-based volunteering is critical to confronting the challenges the world faces today, such as the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Risks Report call to action is on the necessity for the world to find common cause in its shared challenges and address these collaboratively—what Zurich calls the “collaboration imperative.”

I can think of no better way for people to meet these challenges than by giving a bit of themselves to a cause they believe in, this week and every week.

The information in this publication was compiled from sources believed to be reliable for informational purposes only. Any and all information contained herein is not intended to constitute advice (particularly not legal advice). Accordingly, persons requiring advice should consult independent advisors when developing programs and policies. We do not guarantee the accuracy of this information or any results and further assume no liability in connection with this publication. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any of this information, whether to reflect new information, future developments, events or circumstances or otherwise. 

© 2017 Zurich American Insurance Company.  All rights reserved.