Wharton partners with insurance group to research 'flood resilience'

Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy cited as motivation for the research

· July 24, 2013, 11:01 pm

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The Wharton School’s Risk Management and Decision Processes Center is joining forces with Zurich Insurance Group in an effort to enhance flood resilience.

In this one-of-a-kind multiyear interdisciplinary approach, Wharton and Zurich, which provides a wide range of insurance services worldwide, will expand upon current research on flood resilience, risk reduction and economic and communal security.

The Risk Management and Decision Processes Center focuses its research on catastrophic risk management as it applies to manmade hazards — floods impact more people across the globe than does any other natural disaster.

“Catastrophic floods — from hurricanes such as Katrina or Sandy, from tsunamis, or from inland flooding as recently happened in Europe—have caused billions of dollars in losses and displaced millions of individuals and businesses in recent years,” Managing Director of the Wharton Risk Center Erwann Michel-Kerjan, who will lead Wharton’s research efforts, said in a statement.

Related: PennDesign teaches students how to create cities to better withstand natural disasters

“Unless we address research gaps on flood resilience and remove obstacles to disaster risk reduction, more devastation is to come. On behalf of the entire Wharton team who will take part in this joint effort, we look forward to creating new knowledge and implementing effective solutions, with the goal to create measurable value,” he added.

The goals of the project include “understanding, influencing, supporting and disseminating the development of good practices on enhancing flood resilience and the role of insurance in public policy,” according to a statement released by Chief Claims Officer of Zurich’s General Insurance business Thomas Sepp.

The Zurich Foundation, which aims to increase resilience by educating people to protect themselves, will provide funding for the initiative.

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