The number of loss-relevant weather catastrophes worldwide has almost tripled since 1980, according to Munich Re’s NatCatSERVICE database. The company said that finding ways to create broader community resilience against extreme weather events is an important area of agreement in its initial discussion with senior White House officials and other insurance industry leaders.
“Our industry helps individuals and communities rebuild their lives after extreme events, while federal, state and local governments provide post-event subsidies in the form of disaster assistance,” said Tony Kuczinski, president and CEO of Munich Re America, who participated in the discussion at the White House on June 24.
He recommended providing financial incentives to fortify structures before an event occurs, which could save lives as well as reduce future costs, as well as investing in infrastructure to bolster the nation’s resilience.
“The need to improve our national infrastructure transcends party lines and local politics,” said Kuczinski. “It is a commitment we must make if America is to remain a global leader and thrive in an increasingly severe weather environment and an increasingly competitive world.”
The roundtable discussion also focused on opportunities to share data between the federal government and insurance industry to better communicate risk to policyholders, communities and taxpayers, as well as the importance of public education about uninsured risk.
Kuczinski added, “An important take-away from this initial public-private meeting was agreement around actively supporting stronger building codes and mitigation efforts to ensure community resilience.”