Zurich and Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and Environment

Zurich, in partnership with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford, is leading a thought leadership research program to look at the potential for developing frameworks involving different stakeholders, so more workers are provided with flexible or "agile" protection and financial support in the increasingly fragmented labor market.

This program further aims to build upon the success of the Zurich-Oxford Income Protection Gaps project (2015-2018), which examined the macro- and micro-level drivers of shortfalls in earned household income due to disability, illness, or the premature death of a breadwinner.

man and child on bench

The objective of the Agile Protection research program is threefold:

  1. to understand the economic and social drivers behind the need for a new social protection framework;
  2. to gather new empirical data, both on employers' perspectives on the challenges of providing flexible protection and on individuals' behavioral tendencies that influence their insurance purchasing decisions, in order to inform solutions;
  3. to recommend steps towards designing and implementing a new social protection framework by drawing on the findings of these first two areas of inquiry. This series of recommendations aims to improve financial protection for individuals – including those in non-traditional employment. Recommendations will be directed towards governments, employers, insurers and other financial institutions and intermediaries, as well as individuals and households.

Research partner – Smith School of the Enterprise and the Environment (SSEE)

woman and dog on blue mat

SSEE, part of the University of Oxford, is a leading interdisciplinary academic hub focused on teaching, research and engagement with enterprise on climate change, sustainable finance and long-term sustainability. It works with social enterprises, corporations and governments on innovative solutions to the challenges facing humanity over the coming decades.

Oxford Smith’s focus on pensions and retirement savings stems from its focus on long term decision making, an area in which it is a leading expert. Oxford Smith sees a strong link between long term financial decision making and decisions about other global challenges such as environmental sustainability.


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