Emergency Preparedness in a Changing Climate

What can industry, government, and insurers do together to protect people and their communities from the next disaster? This panel offers the opportunity to learn from a cross-section of stakeholders who will open up new approaches and thinking for your organization.

The following questions arose from the audience at the 2017 Campbell Institute Symposium. Unable to attend this year? Join us at the 2018 Symposium for more thought provoking discussions on the future of EHS. 

 

Question: What are you doing to partner with major employers and governments to better address climate change? Any major trends for collaboration?

The subject of climate change is often a challenging one to discuss; for a multitude of reasons. I've found that the best way to engage on the subject - with both the public and private sectors - is to have an honest and data-driven conversation. There are truths on both sides of the debate that should be accepted. By this I mean that official data records, which have been peer-reviewed and confirmed by scientists, have continued to show accelerated warming and that the warming correlates with an increase in carbon dioxide levels. This warming has led to rising sea levels and a warmer and moister atmosphere that has caused more intense weather events to occur. What has additionally exacerbated storm impacts is socioeconomics and population trends. We have seen population growth and migration patterns towards coastlines or major bodies of water that are typically the most vulnerable to natural catastrophe events. All of these factors lead to increased risk.

In recent years, there has been improved dialogue between the federal government and many industries in the private sector to find solutions for climate change mitigation and infrastructure improvements. The federal government houses and collects the official weather and climate data; while the private sector has the tools to be able to develop products to improve awareness and introduce mitigation solutions. Combining the strengths from each side should lead to new territory in finding ways to confront the increasing risks.

Question: Where can I find out more about catastrophe modeling?

The Insurance Information Institute (III) has a great piece that provides background about catastrophe modelling (http://www.iii.org/article/catastrophe-modeling-vital-tool-risk-management-box). There are several major vendors in the market that produce a vast suite of catastrophe models for various perils in individual countries around the world. RMS, AIR, CoreLogic and Impact Forecasting are the four biggest vendors, though there are many other smaller companies that offer models as well. Each has their own unique set of mathematical equations and assumptions introduced into their models that produce their own unique views of natural and man-made peril risk.

 

Steve Bowen is a Director and Meteorologist for Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting division in Chicago. He leads the firm's Catastrophe Insight group in conducting real-time and historical global natural disaster analysis. He has collaborated with NOAA, federal, state and local agencies, insurance industry groups, and universities regarding various weather, climate, and catastrophe loss topics. He was additionally selected to participate on a steering committee for a White House initiative between the public and private sectors that sought to mitigate future impacts from weather events and climate pattern shifts. Steve earned his Master of Science in Business Analytics degree from the University of Notre Dame, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology from Florida State University. He is a member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association (NWA).