Swiss Re is linking with a French utilities company and a U.S. non-profit to help cities better protect key infrastructure and recover more quickly after catastrophe strikes.
Specifically, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. Ltd. will team with Veolia, a French company that designs and provides water, waste and energy management services around the world, with oversight coming from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions CEO Agostino Galvagni and Veolia Chairman and CEO Antoine Frérot announced the news on Jan. 22.
How it will work: Swiss Re and Veolia will eventually team with officials in 100 cities (including New Orleans) will use current and future climate scenarios to better understand the risk exposure of critical assets. Once that is accomplished, cities can develop plans to reduce the risk of these assets and also reduce risk exposure over time (think infrastructure such as wastewater or drinking water systems). The idea is that planning ahead for exposures will help cities strengthen their ability to deal with catastrophes, limit economic interruption and quickly repair damage without having to wait for insurance assessments, payouts and solicitations for repair proposals, according to the partnership announcement.
Each of the cities that will take part are designated a Resilient City as part of the 100 Resilient Cities program, an effort funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to help cities understand how susceptible they are to disaster-related damage of key infrastructure. The program also focuses on helping cities do a better job protecting their infrastructure and helping everything function better when disaster strikes.
Initially, plans call for Swiss Re and Veolia to develop a pilot in a particular city.
Swiss Re’s Galvagni said that his company has been part of the Resilient Cities project since 2013, and that the new deal represents a big advance of that ongoing effort.
“When we joined the 100 Resilient Cities project as one of its founding partners in 2013, part of the commitment was to create a functional toolbox for cities to assess, price, prepare for and mitigate risks,” Galvagni said in prepared remarks. “Our partnership with Veolia brings us one step closer to fulfilling that vision, and we’re convinced that if we can make it a success, the concept can be scaled and replicated for other cities, and for other services.”
Frérot added, also in prepared remarks: “Our partnership with Swiss Re embodies the fact that the resilience goes much beyond risk prevention and recovery in case of a natural disaster … Resilience reinforces cities’ attractiveness and represents a competitive advantage for cities.”
Source: Swiss Re