Author: Daniel Bandle, CEO AXA Mexico

When a country comes together and people join efforts

Tuesday September 19, CDMX at 1:14 pm local time.

What are the odds of a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hitting a city exactly 32 years after the worst earthquake in Mexico’s history? A mere 2 hours after we finished our evacuation drill in AXA Seguros head office on Felix Cuevas, symbolically planned on the anniversary of Mexico’s devastating earthquake in 1985, the real thing happened. An Incredibly brave and serene group of trained volunteers helped to evacuate the building in less than 20 minutes. Standing in the street we had almost no cellphone signals, slow internet, no access to news sites but about an hour after the shock we realized that Mexico City, Morelos, Estado de México and Puebla had been severely affected. The same day we got confirmation that fortunately none of the colleagues from AXA Seguros, AXA Assistance, AXA IM and AXA Partners in Mexico had been harmed.

After the magnitude 8.2 earthquake that hit the Southern coast of Mexico last September 7 and that costed the lives of almost 100 people, this new earthquake has already made 250 victims, 40 buildings in Mexico City have collapsed, 5092 schools have been affected and we have lost 25 children. Heroic actions, a need to help, feeling of belonging, the sense of being one country has come back to life more than ever. This is what Mexico is about, people helping each other, no social grades or status but solidarity and a strong willingness to help in any way. The tragedy is that too few people have protected themselves against this kind of events.

 

Until today, we have no confirmation of the impact that this earthquake has provoked in Morelos, Puebla and the surrounding areas but we know that they have several damages and they need our immediate help and support.

We realize why insurance companies exist, but we also have to admit that we have not yet reached a critical mass of people to truly represent a protective scheme against these disasters. Only 5% of the population has household insurance and the AXA teams are working hard to deliver the outmost best service to the affected customers. But today I am worried about the 95% that are not protected and the long path ahead to increase protection of Mexicans belongings and homes.

 

 

Actions and funds are needed to help rebuild the affected areas. Since Tuesday afternoon we have received so many messages of support and solidarity from AXA colleagues all over the world and this is heartwarming and makes us feel we are One AXA. We know that a lot of colleagues worldwide want to help and contribute. Thanks to our local alliance with Mexican Red Cross and our Fundación AXA we have a solid framework to receive and appropriately use donations. Our goal is to direct all goodwill where it is most needed. We already put in place an agreement with an organization ("Building Integral Communities") specialized in construction. AXA will make focused donations for what is most needed. All reconstruction efforts will follow standardized building codes against earthquakes. There will be a part of self-construction and materials will be bought within affected areas to boost the local economy. Reconstruction estimates will start in Morelos, and Puebla states, as well as Mexico City.

We are grateful for all the helping hands and funds we hope to receive through Fundación AXA by employees and friends across the world and are committed to use them in the most impactful way to help rebuilding and better protect Mexican society.

Daniel Bandle, CEO AXA Mexico

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