Insuring a Chinese county against geological disasters

In China, we helped develop and implement the first-ever natural catastrophe programme at county level. It provides the government of Mao County with comprehensive parametric insurance protection against losses from natural disasters, covering earthquakes, landslides, heavy rainfall and public safety accidents.

Mao County is a minority autonomous area in Sichuan Province, close to the epicentre of the devastating Wenchuan earthquake of 2008. With a magnitude of 8.0, the disaster claimed more than 80 000 lives, left millions of people homeless and caused total damage estimated at RMB 845 billion, with only a small portion covered by insurance.

Alongside the Mao County Government, this pioneering new partnership involves the Groupama-AVIC Property Insurance Company ( as direct insurer. Swiss Re is the programme’s sole reinsurer and has played a leading technical role in ensuring its successful implementation. A particular and noteworthy aspect of the programme is that it includes parametric insurance protection against losses from landslides, an innovative technical breakthrough.