Zurich Canada Supports SFU on Adaptation to Climate Change Research

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 11 /CNW/ - Insurance company Zurich Canada has announced
it will work with Simon Fraser University (SFU) to examine ways to cope with
the ongoing challenges arising from extreme weather events caused by climate
    The insurance industry is feeling the impact of increasingly frequent
climate-related events such as Hurricane Katrina and the recent UK flooding,
and Zurich is taking a proactive role in response by supporting ACT (the
Adaptation to Climate Change Team), SFU's new adaptation policy planning
    The ACT/Zurich Canada program kicks off in May 2008, and will bring
together Canadian and international experts to examine the science, publicize
the issues and recommend policy options for sustainable adaptation to
government, industry, and community leaders.
    "Climate change is obviously of tremendous importance to Zurich Canada,"
said CEO Robert Landry, in making today's announcement. "Supporting ACT gives
us an opportunity to actively assist in the development of policies that will
benefit our customers and society as a whole."
    Global losses due to natural disasters in 2005 were estimated at over
US $200 billion, with insured losses topping US $70 billion. In Canada,
weather extremes are causing increasing damage to property, crops, communities
and tourism. Last winter, for example, violent storms caused power outages and
a boil-water advisory for a record two million British Columbians.
    The extreme weather trend is set to continue. Natural Resources Canada
predicts increasing numbers of severe droughts, storms, forest fires and
floods with serious economic and social impacts; while the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Report warns that temperature extremes and
heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent.
    Insurers coping with heavy costs of climate change-related events see the
need to examine the risks, in order to protect their customers as best they
    The ACT program grew out of concerns raised by renowned economist and SFU
professor Dr. Richard Lipsey about policy gaps in addressing adaptation, and
is intended to complement the mitigation and carbon footprint-reduction
planning now underway nation-wide.
    Led by SFU's Public Policy program, with the involvement of many SFU
departments including Urban Studies and Dialogue, ACT will generate policy
options and public education tools for adaptation to climate change-related
issues including extreme weather events, community impacts, health risks,
fresh water supply, crop and food adaptation, energy production and
distribution, new technologies and displaced populations.
    "At SFU, our focus is 'Thinking of the World'," says President Michael
Stevenson. "ACT will be a valuable resource for Canadian industry, governments
and communities that also has the potential to benefit the international

For further information:

For further information: For interviews with Zurich Canada, please
contact Hannah Brown, Communications Manager, at (416) 671-7822; For
information about ACT, please contact Program Director Deborah Harford at
(604) 671-2449 or dharford@alumni.sfu.ca

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