Willis Group Presents Unique Event to Kick-Start a Global Disaster Resilience Transformation

LONDON, June 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As part of the World Bank's biennial Understanding Risk Forum of global leaders, Willis Group (NYSE:WSH), the global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker and patron of the event, is pleased to announce a unique gathering on Tuesday, 1st July that will bring organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations together with leading academic institutions, charities and global corporations to address natural disaster and climate risk across developed and emerging economies.

Arranged by Willis and co-sponsored with Airbus, the forum comes a week after HRH The Prince of Wales spoke of a need for companies to disclose natural disaster risk in corporate financial statements. This echoes a concept published by the Willis Research Network, during the United Nations Hyogo Framework for Action Summit in London.

Dominic Casserley, CEO of Willis Group, commented:

"We know that stronger companies make stronger communities, providing society with better resilience in an increasingly risky world. Bringing together the worlds of capital, science and policy is the only way we can address the disaster risk that is playing a bigger part in human life than ever before."

The two hour programme of short presentations and focused debates will include contributions from a wide variety of global corporates from the insurance industry and beyond, human rights experts, politicians, leading scientists, global charities, and Basel regulators. It will discuss, and announce developments in, a variety of initiatives that are supporting the delivery of a comprehensive response to future disaster and climate risk. These include:

  • Flood resilience through big data: A Willis Research Network-brokered agreement, in conjunction with two major corporations, to create a digital elevation model that will enable flood risk assessment and protection for coastal and flood plain communities throughout the world.
  • Resilience through regulation: The "1/100" initiative, driven by the World Economic Forum and global accounting bodies, together with the insurance industry, which seeks to battle catastrophe risk through facilitating companies' abilities to report on their exposures through a 1 in 100 year stress test.
  • The development of the UN R!SE initiative: The United Nations' first private sector partnership that brings together business and communities to make investments risk-sensitive. (www.theriseinitiative.org)

The event will conclude with a panel of global leaders discussing how natural disaster risk can be managed and developed in emerging economies and shared between populations at local and global scales via public and private mechanisms.

Speakers include:

  • Fiona Woolf, The Lord Mayor of London
  • Rachel Kyte, Vice President and Climate Change Envoy, World Bank
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University
  • Michel Lies, CEO, Swiss Re
  • Dominic Casserley, CEO, Willis Group
  • The Right Hon. Greg Barker, MP, UK Energy Minister
  • Rebecca Moore, Development Head, Google Earth
  • Gill Dickson, Geo-Intelligence, Airbus Defence and Space
  • David Bull, Executive Director, UNICEF UK
  • Prof Dame Julia Slingo OBE, Chief Scientist, UK Met Office

Rowan Douglas, CEO of Willis Group's Capital, Science and Policy Practice and Patron of the World Bank's Understanding Risk Forum 2014, commented:

"To bring global charities such as UNICEF alongside modern-day corporate giants such as Google and Airbus, the best minds in the insurance industry, major global institutions such as the OECD, WMO and the World Economic Forum and a whole host of others from science and academia, provides us with a unique opportunity to align interests to translate ideas into urgent action. The renewal of the UN Hyogo Framework in Japan next March provides the impetus to triangulate these opportunities and deliver the structural reforms to save millions of lives and livelihoods through physical and financial resilience in the coming decades."

About Willis

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker. With roots dating to 1828, Willis operates today on every continent with more than 18,000 employees in over 400 offices. Willis offers its clients superior expertise, teamwork, innovation and market-leading products and professional services in risk management and transfer. Our experts rank among the world's leading authorities on analytics, modelling and mitigation strategies at the intersection of global commerce and extreme events. Find more information at our website, www.willis.com, our leadership journal, Resilience, or our up-to-the-minute blog on breaking news, WillisWire. Across geographies, industries and specialisms, Willis provides its local and multinational clients with resilience for a risky world.

About The Willis Research Network (WRN) - The Science of Managing Extremes

The WRN enables the risk and (re)insurance sector to integrate the world's leading science and information to protect lives, livelihoods and assets against extreme events.

Our aim is to ensure that private and public institutions gain the greatest possible understanding of risks, to achieve resilience as a platform for sustainable growth. The science also underpins the ability of insurers and reinsurers can deliver effective financial protection at optimum terms.

Around 50 science institutions across the world are members of the WRN and we support many Willis Research Fellows, senior academics, science programmes and translational platforms. They span the range of disciplines and geographies that concern exposed populations and industry's evolving regulatory landscape. These are reflected in the WRN's five research pillars: Regulation & Public Policy, Economic Capital, Natural Hazard and Risks, Man-made Risk & Liabilities, and Core Technologies.

With its success the WRN has grown to become the world's largest collaboration between public science and the finance sector. The Network has received many awards and is recognised as exemplary by leading science organisations with whom we work.

CONTACT: Media: Miles Russell +44 20 3124 7446 Email: Miles.Russell@willis.com Investors: Peter Poillon +1 212 915 8084 Email: Peter.Poillon@willis.comSource:Willis Group Holdings