Key conclusions were in research and reinsurance retention levels

To mark the start of hurricane season 2008, RenaissanceRe have announced key findings from the Hurricane Risk Mitigation Leadership Forum, which it co-sponsored with its affiliate WeatherPredict Consulting, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), and the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Among the many conclusions drawn by delegates at the forum, strong consensus emerged that mitigation research and implementation represent the most promising means to reduce the risk of loss of life and property in storm-exposed regions. Another major conclusion was that sufficient capacity exists in the private insurance and capital markets to cover potential insured economic losses stemming from natural catastrophes.

The Hurricane Risk Mitigation Leadership Forum brought together 120 leading scientists, academics, environmentalists, first responders, non-profit organisation, public and private sector representatives to advance hurricane risk mitigation efforts and awareness. The forum featured presentations by distinguished panels of speakers and offered the opportunity for participants to exchange ideas with representatives from all aspects of the disaster safety movement. Discussions included state-of-the-art solutions to mitigating hurricane risk, current initiatives in the areas of building mitigation, hazard mitigation and risk financing, core facts around the science of hurricane research and the potential economic impacts of hurricanes to the United States, and how to bring new risk mitigation products to market.

Speakers and delegates to the forum included officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the National Hurricane Center, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Florida Department of Financial Services, the My Safe Florida Home program, the International Code Council, the Departments of Insurance for Florida, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the National Wildlife Federation, Georgetown Environmental Law & Policy Institute, representatives from industry groups and individual companies, and others.

Neill Currie, president and chief executive officer of RenaissanceRe Holdings, said: “We have emerged more convinced than ever that investing in loss mitigation presents a substantial opportunity both to help make residents of coastal regions safer, and to reduce premium costs over time. As we face hurricane season 2008, it is important to try to increase and align the focus of all those involved in hurricane risk management. RenaissanceRe intends to continue our commitment to events such as the forum, our investment in research initiatives such as the RenaissanceRe Wall of Wind testing lab, and meeting and exceeding the needs of our business customers and partners.”

Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and CEO of FLASH said: “One of the most positive themes to come out of the forum was the fact that risk mitigation is increasingly being recognised as the most promising answer and accepted solution for storm safety and property loss. Mitigation will help us put a stop to the deadly cycle we have engaged in historically of repeated property loss and rebuilding in vulnerable areas.”

Julie Rochman, president and CEO of the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), said: “One of the most valuable benefits of the forum was the opportunity to forge new partnerships and learn about new avenues to advance mitigation. IBHS is committed to supporting risk mitigation as a preventative approach that greatly reduces the social and economic effects of severe storms.”