The United Nations World Food Program has awarded Axa Re the world's first insurance contract for humanitarian emergencies. The contract provides contingency funding in case of an extreme drought during Ethiopia's 2006 agricultural season.

The policy is designed to complement recent UN moves towards greater effectiveness through the creation of an emergency fund which could provide fast injections of cash to aid operations in the first few days after disaster strikes.

As a worldwide leader in financial protection and one of the pioneers of weather cover through its subsidiary Axa Re, Axa is happy to provide its financial expertise in implementing this innovative coverage, said Hans-Peter Gerhardt, the company’s CEO.

This is the first time that an insurance cover transferring risk to financial players is used for protecting people against the consequences of extreme drought. We are proud that our business can contribute to the struggle against the devastation caused by natural disasters in developing countries.