The number of severe weather-related natural catastrophes has risen markedly since 1970, and is expected to be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Insurance losses, as well as uninsured losses, have also increased significantly over recent years, reflecting increased property values, population density, and development in exposed areas such as coastlines. This trend is also expected to continue: In the US, the coastal population is expected to grow 9% by 2020, to 134 million people from 123 million currently.

While some communities have started to implement risk-mitigation measures, more needs to be done. Extreme weather events increase the need for community-based preparation. A well-considered plan would entail modeling an event, determining potential damage, and identifying and assessing risk mitigation measures. Damages for which protective measures are too costly, or otherwise undesirable, could be covered by insurance.

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Laural Warren joined Swiss Re’s Financial Risk Management team in 2007 from ABN AMRO.  At Swiss Re, she was responsible for assessing credit risk to banks and financial institutions. In 2014 she transferred to Qualitative Risk Management, evaluating potential reputational risk posed by new transactions, sensitive business risk outreach in the Americas, support and research for Swiss Re’s Sustainability initiatives in the US, and analysis of US emerging risks.