Preven­tion and resilience

Resilience has been a core value at Mobiliar since the beginning. Marta Kwiatkowski, Head of Societal Engagement at Mobiliar, explains what Mobiliar means by this and how an insurance company can help make society more resilient.


Why does Mobi­liar focus so heavily on resilience?

As an insu­rance company, our busi­ness model is based on the prin­ci­ple of soli­da­rity. As a coope­ra­tive, we care about the common good. Even our foun­ding statu­tes, which date all the way back to 1826, stipu­late that the work we do at Mobi­liar is based on recipro­city. In other words, resi­li­ence has been one of our core values since the busi­ness was first foun­ded almost 200 years ago. Preven­tion and resi­li­ence are the two main pillars under­pin­ning our sustaina­bi­lity stra­tegy. Preven­tion is all about protec­tion and preser­va­tion, while resi­li­ence is a ques­tion of ensu­ring our society is fit for the future. We’re commit­ted to taking action to that effect. 

What does social sustaina­bi­lity mean to you?

We can divide social sustaina­bi­lity into diffe­rent levels. First of all, you have the role of the indi­vi­dual in society. We need to find ways of laying future-proof foun­da­ti­ons so we can keep the dialo­gue going and help future gene­ra­ti­ons realise their own poten­tial. Next up, there’s the Swiss economy. Small and medium-sized enter­pri­ses are the back­bone, employ­ing over 90 per cent of the popu­la­tion and focu­sing on inno­va­tions that will ensure their future survi­val. And then you have nature and the envi­ron­ment. We’re commit­ted to support­ing projects that aim to create an adap­ta­ble living space.

How do you inte­grate resi­li­ence into your social acti­vi­ties at Mobiliar?

Like I said, resi­li­ence is at the heart of our ambi­ti­ons. And so we have a range of initia­ti­ves on these three levels I mentio­ned earlier. We have our own initia­ti­ves, we support projects and we work with part­ners who are working towards the same goals as us. 

For exam­ple, we support sponge city initia­ti­ves in urban cons­truc­tion as a way of miti­ga­ting the effects of climate change. This invol­ves unse­al­ing soil and crea­ting green spaces. The idea is that water can seep through rather than run off the surface caus­ing damage. And it can evapo­rate again, acting like a natu­ral air-condi­tio­ning system that cools down the envi­ron­ment and impro­ves the quality of life in the public sphere. So we’re talking about climate measu­res and social measures.

The aim of our rese­arch part­ner­ships is to gain insights that we can put into prac­tice through our projects for the common good. Through our social efforts, we play an active role in streng­thening the resi­li­ence of society by helping SMEs and NPOs to adapt so they are ready to face the future. 

In our Mobi­liar Forum, we offer inno­va­tion work­shops for SMEs and NPOs. This gives them the chance to address speci­fic ques­ti­ons about their future with profes­sio­nal guidance and using a process based on the design thin­king metho­do­logy. They also learn about inno­va­tion techniques. 

The Atelier du Futur is another important project. It’s a summer camp for young people aged between 13 and 15 with a heavy focus on digi­ta­li­sa­tion, the envi­ron­ment, consump­tion, art and culture. We want those young people to realise that they have a voice and that they can use that voice to improve their own future. 

How can an insu­rance company help make society more resilient?

The core busi­ness of an insu­rance company is to provide insu­rance against risks. But we can’t insure against a lack of inno­va­tion or an inabi­lity to adapt. That’s why we believe in looking at the bigger picture when it comes to resi­li­ence. We want to play an important role in our society being able to look ahead to the future with optimism.

What chal­lenges is Mobi­liar facing in its current efforts?

We’re living through multi­ple crises right now. The world has become so complex for each and every one of us that we can some­ti­mes lose track and feel disori­en­ted. The worst thing we can do is give up. We choose to focus less on speci­fic issues and more on oppor­tu­ni­ties. That means that we tend to need more than one simple answer. We’re looking for the right tools that can be applied. For exam­ple, we try to show young people what they’re capa­ble of through crea­tive endea­vours and we aim to inspire SMEs to adopt inno­va­tion proces­ses using the design thin­king methodology.

How does Mobi­liar measure the social impact of its initia­ti­ves, espe­ci­ally in terms of streng­thening resi­li­ence in rela­tion to the envi­ron­ment, the economy and society?

That’s an important ques­tion. As it stands, we have speci­fic KPIs for our initia­ti­ves and we conduct surveys regu­larly. But we care more about the impact on our ambi­tion, the resi­li­ence of society. We want to create an inte­gra­ted impact model for that purpose. Before we can do that, we need an under­stan­ding of ways of measu­ring the resi­li­ence of society – the rele­vant para­me­ters we need to be iden­ti­fy­ing. We’re working with part­ners like the Risk Dialo­gue Foun­da­tion to achieve this.

How does Mobi­liar use art and culture to improve aware­ness of and acces­si­bi­lity to resi­li­ence and commu­nity spirit without them coming across as a means to an end?

Encou­ra­ging art is the top prio­rity. Artists are indi­ca­tors of the current trends, shifts and discourse in society. And that makes them essen­tial in an open, fully func­tio­ning society. They process these socie­tal issues, acting as intellec­tual messen­gers while opening up access on so many levels. Art and culture are also a plat­form for networ­king and trans­fer between disci­pli­nes, such as busi­ness, science and society. 

We actively encou­rage the crea­tive process with our coll­ec­tion and the Prix Mobi­lière. We open up dialo­gue on socie­tal issues through our exhi­bi­ti­ons at our offices in Bern and Nyon. We keep the formats varied and work with our part­ners from the fields of rese­arch and culture to main­tain links with diffe­rent topics. We do our best to make sure ever­yone can enjoy art – and not just art afici­o­na­dos – by making the dialo­gue surroun­ding it as acces­si­ble as possible. 

Does Mobi­liar work alone or with part­ners when it comes to social initiatives? 

Part­ner­ships are key to our initia­ti­ves. There’s only so much impact we can have as Mobi­liar alone. But we can amplify that impact by sharing skills and expe­ri­en­ces and working on projects with others. We see oursel­ves as faci­li­ta­tors and networ­kers in this context. We believe stron­gly in co-crea­tion because it deli­vers better results and is based on a stron­ger foun­da­tion. And all of that means that our endea­vours are more credible.

Marta Kwiat­kow­ski has been Head of Socie­tal Enga­ge­ment at Mobi­liar since June 2022. Her ambi­tion of buil­ding resi­li­ence in society is focu­sed on three main areas: ‘Commu­nity and Soli­da­rity’, ‘Inno­va­tion and Deve­lo­p­ment’ and ‘Nature and Preven­tion’.

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