10 years of Munich Re Foundation

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Corporate Responsibility News

3 July 2015

10 years of Munich Re Foundation - Interview with CEO Thomas Loster

Munich Re Foundation was established in the spring of 2005. Since that time it has been working at minimising risks and protecting people against natural hazards. Thomas Loster, CEO of the Foundation talks in a short interview about goals, visions, achievements and challenges.

Munich Re Foundation is celebrating its first milestone birthday. What vision has the Foundation team mainly pursued over the last ten years?
Thomas Loster: Munich Re is one of the leading risk carriers. It therefore stands to reason that Munich Re Foundation uses this knowledge and, as a humanitarian foundation, endeavours to help people at risk. In addition to this, we would like to support Munich Re, which offers highly differentiated insurance solutions above all in the economically strong countries, in the developing and emerging nations, as the people there have only limited access to our knowledge of risks. In these countries we focus our attention on the proliferation of microinsurance products. Disaster prevention is equally important to us. We want to make a difference in these countries, in the spirit of our motto “From Knowledge to Action”.
In what areas has the Foundation been particularly successful?
Every year we organise the largest microinsurance conference worldwide, with approximately 500 delegates attending from roughly 60 countries. One third of the participants are representatives from the private sector, the others include many state representatives, such as regulators, and also NGOs. The fact that we have been able to firmly establish this event is an enormous step forward for the organisers working in development work coordination, and ultimately also for the people who can benefit from microinsurance. Together with the United Nations (UNISDR) we also award the highest-paid prize for disaster prevention, which supports outstanding projects such as prevention in the slums of Mozambique and India, or inclusion, in other words the integration of people with disabilities, into risk management in Chile. A third successful project are our sponsored fog nets that meanwhile harvest large quantities of drinking water from fog and dew for the people of the dry mountain regions in Morocco and Tanzania.

Despite all the successes, what are your biggest challenges?
Loster: The Foundation is domiciled in Munich and must operate successfully in many different countries of the Earth. In our work we encounter the widest variety of cultures and strongly differing ways of thinking and working. You need a lot of empathy to gain recognition. Working together with the NGOs and the local administrative units can also be very challenging. We luckily joined forces with the for us right partners from the very beginning, such as the United Nations University (UNU) and the German Society of International Cooperation (GIZ). They are well organised and networked. This facilitates the implementation and establishment of projects on the ground.
What are your wishes for the future of the Foundation?
Loster: That we can improve the living conditions of many people enduringly and demonstrably. In concrete terms this means, for example, that we can save peoples' lives with our flood warning system. Our projects are intended as blueprints and should be multiplied. We will continue our efforts in the future to promote the successful further development of microinsurance and thus secure the livelihoods of families.

Team of Munich Re Foundation

From left to right: Jayoung Eckl-Lee, Christian Barthelt, Martina Mayerhofer, Thomas Loster, Dirk Reinhard, Julia Martinez, Renate Kramer

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