Zurich’s emerging markets unit provides political risk insurance for hydropower project

"Green" project designed to help meet growing demand for electricity in Sri Lanka

Washington, D.C., March 12, 2008 – Zurich, a leader in political risk and trade credit insurance in emerging markets, today announced it is providing political risk insurance for a hydroelectric power plant in Sri Lanka. This project was developed in cooperation with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which will provide financing and reinsurance for the plant.

Zurich is providing political risk coverage to the U.S. sponsor of the five-megawatt hydropower plant on the Weli River in south central Sri Lanka. OPIC will provide a $4.3 million loan to MaTh Hydro Power, the project company, for construction of the plant, as well as $1.4 million in reinsurance for Zurich's political risk coverage of the project.

This hydropower plant helps Sri Lanka address a growing need for electricity while encouraging private sector investment in this industry. It fits with Zurich's recently launched climate initiative. Zurich is focused on providing solutions for a myriad of risks associated with climate change.

“We are very pleased to be involved with OPIC, a fellow member of the Berne Union (BU), on this environmentally sensitive project,” said Daniel Riordan, executive vice president and managing director for Zurich’s emerging markets unit. “Zurich is committed to working with companies in emerging markets to address the risks associated with alternative energy projects. Political risk coverage is particularly important to private investors working with foreign governments to address the growing demand for efficient power sources."

Zurich is a market leader, providing political risk and trade credit insurance on a global basis. More than 300 of the world’s leading companies – including financial institutions, multinational corporations, investors, exporters and infrastructure developers – are supported from Zurich offices in Washington D.C., Barcelona, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Paris, Sydney and Tokyo. All policies are backed by the financial strength of Zurich Financial Services Group with ratings of AA- from Standard & Poor’s and A/positive from A.M. Best.

Zurich is a member of the Berne Union (BU) – an international union of credit and investment insurers – and often coinsures and reinsures with fellow BU members that are export credit agencies and multilateral institutions.

Zurich’s recently launched climate initiative has a three-pillar approach. First, Zurich has established an internal Climate Office that is charged with driving an understanding of climate-related risks across its businesses and is fully embedded in Zurich’s underwriting infrastructure.

Second, Zurich has established a Climate Change Advisory Council that will directly report to Zurich’s Group Management on strategic and operational issues associated with climate change.

Third, Zurich launched an applied research program with organizations and institutions to examine the critical economic, finance and policy issues associated with climate change. The main objective of Zurich’s market-focused global climate initiative is to understand the emerging weather, financial and regulatory risks associated with climate change and to develop products and services that help customers cope with these risks.

About Zurich Financial Services
Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) is an insurance-based financial services provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in North America and Europe as well as in Asia Pacific, Latin America and other markets. Founded in 1872, the Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. It employs approximately 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries. In North America, Zurich (www.zurichna.com) is a leading commercial property-casualty insurance provider serving the global corporate, large corporate, middle market, small business, specialties and programs sectors.

Media contacts:

Steve McKay, Zurich
847-706-2265
steven.mckay@zurichna.com

Sean Kevelighan, Zurich
917-534-4613
sean.kevelighan@zurichna.com

 

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