California Climate Risk

Insurance-Based Approaches to Mitigation and Resilience

July 23, 2019, UCLA School of Law

Conference Presentation Slides [PDF]

As climate change poses new and evolving risks for California residents and businesses, the insurance industry will play an increasingly important role in managing these risks. California is pursuing policies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and build resiliency to climate risks. Insurers have opportunities to address climate-related risks through innovation across their risk management, insurance, and investment activities, and through increased collaborative efforts. California Climate Risk: Insurance-Based Approaches to Mitigation and Resilience will provided a space to discuss these issues.

The event was convened by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in partnership with UN Environment's Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative, UCLA School of Law's Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and UC Berkeley School of Law's Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment.

Event Program

  • Welcome and Introduction
    • Ethan Elkind, UC Berkeley School of Law
    • Sean Hecht, UCLA School of Law


  • Keynote Address
    • California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara


  • Panel 1: Physical Risk Assessment, Impact Mitigation, and Insurance
    • Alex Hall, UCLA Center for Climate Science
    • Alice Hill, Hoover Institution
    • Kristen Torres Pawling, County of Los Angeles
    • LeRoy Westerling, UC Merced School of Engineering
    • Moderator: Sean Hecht, UCLA School of Law
    • What recent advances in science and modeling can better assess climate risks?
    • What should California's state and local governments do to better manage the climate-related physical and financial risks that communities are facing?
    • What is the role of the insurance industry in understanding and mitigating these risks? What barriers exist to insurers playing a robust role?
  • Panel 2: Nature-based Solutions
    • Secretary of Ecology and Environment Alfredo Arellano, State of Quintana Roo, Mexico
    • David BurtonPerry, Swiss Re
    • Deborah Halberstadt, UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute
    • Raghuveer Vinukollu, Munich Re
    • Moderator: Louis Blumberg, Blumberg West Consulting
    • How can natural systems reduce climate amplified risk and what role might insurance play in financing these efforts?
    • How do recent case studies like the Coastal Zone Management Trust project, designed by the Nature Conservancy, Swiss Re, and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, serve as proof of concept?
    • How can these solutions be applied in California, and what are the policy, funding, research, and cross-sector collaboration opportunities and needs?
  • Afternoon Keynote: Insurance Markets, Climate Risk, and Sustainability
    • Butch Bacani, Global Leader, UN Environment's Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative
  • Panel 3: Managing Physical and Transition Risks and Opportunities
    • Carrie Brodzinski, AXA XL
    • Karen Lockridge, Mercer
    • Jeremy McDaniels, UN Environment
    • Clare Murray, 2° Investing Initiative
    • Moderator: Cynthia McHale, Ceres
    • What risk analytics, risk management services, incentives, and insurance products can insurers develop to support community safety and resilience?
    • What insurance and investment approaches can insurers adopt to better manage climate-related physical and transition risks?
    • What role can insurance regulators and state policymakers play to help the insurance industry and communities tackle climate risks?
  • Panel 4: California Policy Innovations
    • California State Senator Ben Allen
    • Kate Gordon, California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research
    • California State Senator Nancy Skinner
    • California State Senator Henry Stern
    • Moderator: California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara
    • How should lawmakers and regulators approach climate adaptation needs while the state accelerates its mitigation efforts?
    • What opportunities does insurance regulation provide to better address climate risks?
    • How can the insurance industry's role in addressing climate change be better integrated into California's climate policies?
    • What are key elements of a California strategy and action plan that would harness the full potential of the insurance industry as risk managers, insurers, and investors to build climate-resilient communities and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy?
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