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Howden, SMI & R-Cities launch joint global partnership to address urban climate change vulnerabilities

24th May 2023 - Author: Jack Willard

International insurance group Howden Group Holdings, The Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), and Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) have announced a “first of its kind” top talent secondment programme that this year will place five insurance professionals into five cities’ leadership teams for three to six months each.

howden-group-logoAccording to the announcement, this “pioneering” ‘Global Risk and Resilience Fellowship’ programme underlines the power of insurance to de-risk and accelerate resilience-building activities and as an essential tool in addressing the world’s transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.

At the same time, the partnership will address urban climate change vulnerabilities and explore how insurance can be incorporated into climate resilience solutions to support city resiliency.

The first cohort of insurance professionals under the Global Risk and Resilience Fellowship, from Howden and Beazley, will be seconded this month to Melaka (Malaysia), Surat (India), Miami-Dade County (United States), Glasgow (United Kingdom), and The Hague (The Netherlands).

Managing the impacts of extreme weather such as flood and heat, the energy transition and reduction of carbon emissions, as well as online cyber and supply chain disruption, are just a few examples of the challenges that the Fellows will address.

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Moreover, the Fellowship, which was launched last year at the COP27 Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Action Forum, brings together the collective expertise of the insurance industry and wider private sector, city leadership officials, including Chief Resilience Officers, and the broader network of Sustainable Markets Initiative members.

Additionally, the ambition for the programme is to deploy an additional 20 secondees to cities in the coming three to five years, with the next cohort of Fellows set to start in early 2024 across six continents.

Lauren Sorkin, Executive Director, Resilient Cities Network, said: “As climate change continues to exacerbate the shocks and stresses in our cities, a complete understanding of the risks a city faces is a critical step in building resilience. By identifying and mapping future risks, our cities are empowered to make holistic, informed decisions and better allocate finances. We look forward to sharing the knowledge that will come out of this public and private sector collaboration.”

David Howden, Chief Executive Officer, Howden, and member of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Insurance Task Force, commented: “Today over 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. By working in partnership with those who are at the frontline of building urban resilience, the insurance industry has a real opportunity to be a powerful force in delivering a more sustainable future for all. I wish the Fellows the best of luck and I am excited to watch this partnership evolve.”

John Neal, Chief Executive Officer, Lloyd’s, and Chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Insurance Task Force, added: “Building resilience is central to the insurance industry’s role of helping businesses, government and society manage risk. But resilience isn’t only achieved by sharing risk, it also comes from knowledge transfer, collaboration and working together towards a common goal. This first of a kind fellowship, led by Howden and made possible by the collective effort of the Insurance Task Force, will pair the risk expertise of the global insurance industry, with those at the front lines of making our cities and society more resilient, creating a more sustainable future for all.”

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