Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment

California Climate Risk: Insurance-Based Approaches to Mitigation and Resilience

July 23, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

UCLA School of Law, Room 1357
385 Charles E Young Dr E
Los Angeles, CA 90095

This event is by invitation only. Registration is now closed. Please contact Sean Hecht, hecht@law.ucla.edu, or Ted Lamm, tlamm@lawberkeley.edu with any inquiries.


California State Senator Ben Allen

California State Senator Ben Allen has represented the 26th Senate District since 2015, covering the Westside, Hollywood and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County. Ben serves as chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, is a member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, and co-chairs the Environmental Caucus. Ben coauthored the Senate's historic climate change legislation, which requires 50% of the state's energy to come from renewable sources, and doubles energy efficiency in buildings, by 2030. He authored bills to expand the state's efforts to combat climate change even further, including establishing the first standard to increase the use of renewable gas, and reducing toxic motor oil waste. Ben has also authored successful measures on youth vaccination, public lands protection, and transportation and affordable housing development. He previously served as board President of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, lectured at UCLA School of Law, and worked in private legal practice.

Secretary of Ecology and Environment Alfredo Arellano
State of Quintana Roo, Mexico

Alfredo Arellano-Guillermo is the Secretary of Ecology and Environment of the Quintana Roo State Government (México). He and the state of Quintana Roo have been key partners in an innovative project to insure a portion of the Mesoamerican reef along the Yucatan Coast from severe storms amplified by climate change. The project became fully operative in June 2019 when Quintana Roo established the Coastal Zone Management Trust. From 2011 to 2015, he was General Director of Regional Operation and General Director of Conservation for Development in the National Commission for Protected Areas in Mexico. From 2004 to 2010 was Regional Director of Protected Areas in the Yucatan PeniĀ­nsula and since 1994 was responsible of Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage Site. Prior to this, from 1990 to 1994, he was head of department for the Yucatan State Natural Protected Areas System. He has authored several scientific and technical papers and participated in congresses, conferences, workshops and the design of planning instruments for natural protected areas, ecotourism and environmental policy. He has a bachelor's degree in biology from the National University of México (UNAM) and graduated from the 8th cohort of the Leadership on Environment and Development Program (LEAD).

Butch Bacani
Global Leader, UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance

Butch Bacani leads UN Environment's Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI), the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry. Butch leads activities supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Financial Stability Board's climate risk disclosure recommendations (TCFD). He co-led the development of the first global sustainability guide for insurance underwriting, led the creation of the Insurance Industry Development Goals for Cities, forged the PSI's partnership with the world's microinsurance community, and co-led the creation of UN Environment's Sustainable Insurance Forum for regulators. Butch led the global process that created the PSI in 2012 and UN Environment's insurance and investment programs from 2006 to 2010. He has shaped global insurance industry initiatives to address climate change, disaster risks, tobacco risks, illegal fishing and plastic pollution; and to protect World Heritage Sites. Butch has authored pioneering studies on sustainable insurance and responsible investment. Previously, he was in the insurance industry for over a decade, working with leading insurers and reinsurers worldwide.

David BurtonPerry
Vice President and Senior Client Manager, Swiss Re

David BurtonPerry is a Vice President and Senior Client Manager in Swiss Re's Public Sector Solutions unit, based in Washington, D.C. He works with federal, state and local government clients to assess the exposures and contingent liabilities public entities carry on their balance sheet and develop customized, innovative risk transfer solutions. David joined Swiss Re in 2017 as a member of the Corporate Solutions Property underwriting team in New York, NY, where he drove the growth of Swiss Re's international property portfolio. Prior to Swiss Re, David worked for Zurich Insurance, where he held roles on the Global Corporate Property and Natural Catastrophe underwriting teams in New York, NY and Chicago, IL. At Zurich, he specialized in designing complex multinational insurance programs for a diverse client set, including Fortune 500 companies, private equity funds and public entities. David received an M.A. in International Affairs from American University and a B.A. in History from Colby College.

Louis Blumberg
President, Blumberg West Consulting

Louis Blumberg is President of Blumberg West Consulting. Louis works with clients in California and Europe to advance climate action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas and help society prepare for the escalating impacts of climate change. Formerly, Louis was the Director for Climate Change at the Nature Conservancy's California Chapter where he led a multidisciplinary team developing a comprehensive suite of natural climate solutions including strategies to reduce and avoid emissions from forests, farms, ranches and wetlands and to enhance resilience of human and natural communities. Louis played a pivotal role in integrating forests into California's carbon market and in establishing a public policy platform to advance climate resilience in the state. He served as a member of the Technical Advisory Group to the Governor's Office of Planning and Resources and as a member of California's Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program's Technical Advisory Council. He has experience advancing climate policy at all levels of government and was a member the Nature Conservancy's international climate change team and former director of its carbon project review committee.

Ethan Elkind
Director, Climate Program, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at UC Berkeley School of Law

Ethan Elkind is the Director of the Climate Program at the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) at UC Berkeley School of Law and leads the Climate Change and Business Research Initiative on behalf of the UC Berkeley and UCLA Schools of Law. He taught at the UCLA School of Law's Frank Wells Environmental Law Clinic and served as an environmental law research fellow. He has a background in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), climate change law, environmental justice, and other environmental law topics. In 2005, he co-founded The Nakwatsvewat Institute, Inc., a Native American nonprofit organization that provides alternative dispute resolution services and support for tribal governance, justice and educational institutions. His book on the history of the modern Los Angeles Metro Rail system was published by University of California Press in January 2014. Ethan is also a regular host of the weekly call-in radio show "City Visions" on the San Francisco NPR affiliate KALW 91.7 FM, airing Monday nights at 7pm.

Kate Gordon
Director, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research

Kate Gordon is Director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Research and Senior Advisor on Climate to Governor Gavin Newsom. She has authored or co-authored numerous publications, including the Fourth National Climate Assessment's chapter on "Reducing Risks Through Adaptation Actions". Prior to being appointed OPR Director, Gordon was a Senior Advisor at the Henry M. Paulson Institute, where she oversaw the "Risky Business Project," focused on quantifying the economic impacts of climate change to the U.S. economy, and also provided strategic support to the Institute's U.S.- China CEO Council for Sustainable Urbanization. She was also a nonresident Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. Earlier in her career Gordon served as Vice President for Climate and Energy at the Center for the Next Generation, Vice President of Energy and Environment at the Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress, and Co-Executive Director at the national Apollo Alliance (now the Blue Green Alliance).

Deborah Halberstadt
Policy Affiliate, Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute and Bodega Marine Laboratory, UC Davis

Deborah Halberstadt is Policy Affiliate at the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute and Bodega Marine Laboratory at UC Davis. She served as Executive Director of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and Deputy Secretary for Oceans and Coastal Policy at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2016 to 2019. She has extensive experience in environmental law and policy and has devoted her career to advocating for and protecting the environment. Deborah is committed to implementing California's innovative, ecosystem driven approach to ocean and coastal management and its emphasis on science-based policies and collaborative partnerships. Before joining the OPC, Deborah spent ten years in the Office of the California Attorney General litigating civil and criminal cases to enforce environmental laws. During that time she worked on several multi-jurisdictional teams with local and federal agencies and was cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Upon graduating from law school, Deborah clerked for the Honorable Walter L. Carpeneti at the Alaska Supreme Court in Juneau.

Alex Hall
Director, UCLA Center for Climate Science

Alex Hall is Professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Director of the Center for Climate Science at UCLA. His research is focused on reducing uncertainty surrounding future climate change. He has been active in the development of new techniques to model and understand climate change at local scales. Alex and his team at the Center for Climate Science use these techniques to create neighborhood- and landscape-scale projections of future climate relevant to people and ecosystems. They recently completed projections over the Los Angeles region and the Sierra Nevada. Projects are currently under way to investigate the future of extreme precipitation and fire in California. Alex was a Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report's chapter on regional climate change and a Contributing Author to its chapter on climate model evaluation. He was also Coordinating Lead Author of the Los Angeles Region Report, part of California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment.

Sean B. Hecht
Co-Executive Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment & Evan Frankel Professor of Policy and Practice, UCLA School of Law

Sean Hecht co-directs the activities of UCLA Law's Emmett Institute, and works with students to serve environmental organizations and government agencies in his role as co-director of the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic. His teaching includes Public Natural Resources Law and Policy, Environmental Law, and a California State Environmental Law seminar, in addition to the Environmental Law Clinic. He collaborates on projects with practicing environmental lawyers, environmental and environmental justice advocacy organizations, policymakers, and the business community. Sean's research interests include coastal resilience law and policy, the role of the insurance sector in addressing climate change, environmental justice, and federal public land law and policy. Sean is a past chair of the State Bar of California's environmental law section. Along with co-counsel in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish and Wildlife (Newhall Ranch), he received the 2016 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award for environmental law.

Alice Hill
Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Alice C. Hill is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where her work focuses on preparing for catastrophic risk, including the destabilizing impacts of climate change. She previously served in the Obama administration as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Resilience Policy for the National Security Council. While at the White House, Hill led the development of national policy regarding climate resilience, including establishment of national risk management standards for the most damaging natural hazards. Hill previously served as Senior Counselor to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and as an ex officio member of the Federal Advisory Committee for the National Climate Assessment. Earlier in her career, Hill served as Supervising Judge on both the Superior and Municipal Courts in Los Angeles and as Chief of the white-collar crime prosecution unit in the Los Angeles United States Attorney's Office. She currently serves on the the boards of Munich Re North America and Munich Re's domestic subsidiaries. Oxford University Press will publish her book, Building a Resilient Tomorrow, co-authored with Leonardo Diaz-Martinez, in fall 2019.

Dave Jones
Director, Climate Risk Initiative, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment; Senior Director, The Nature Conservancy; former California Insurance Commissioner

Dave Jones is the Director of the Climate Risk Initiative at UC Berkeley's Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, a Senior Fellow at The ClimateWorks Foundation, and a Senior Director at The Nature Conservancy. Dave served two terms as California's Insurance Commissioner from 2011 to 2018. He led the Department of Insurance and was responsible for regulating the largest insurance market in the United States where insurers collect $310 Billion a year in premiums and have $5.5 trillion in assets under management. Jones led the Department's response to California's increasingly deadly and destructive catastrophic wildfires, including the 2015 Butte and Valley Fires, the 2017 NorthBay and Thomas fires, and the 2018 Mendocino, Carr, Woolsey, and Camp Fires. Prior to serving as Insurance Commissioner, Jones served in the California State Assembly (2004-2010), as a Sacramento City Councilmember (1999-2004), as Special Assistant and then Counsel to United States Attorney General Janet Reno (1995-1998) and provided free legal representation to low income families and individuals with the non-profit Legal Services of Northern California (1989-1995).

Ted Lamm
Research Fellow, Climate Program, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at UC Berkeley
School of Law

Ted Lamm is a research fellow in the Climate Program at the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) at UC Berkeley School of law. Ted's research focuses on California climate change policies and the relationships between other areas of policy and the achievement of California's climate change-related goals. His recent work has included stakeholder initiatives on sustainability in California's freight system, utility-scale solar power, climate change and insurance, transportation policy, and energy efficiency in the multifamily housing sector. Prior to joining CLEE, Ted practiced environmental and corporate law in New York. Ted received his JD from New York University School of Law and his AB from Brown University.

Ricardo Lara
California Insurance Commissioner

Commissioner Ricardo Lara has a long record as one of California's most effective environmental champions, passing laws that promote innovation and investment in clean air, embrace equity, protect our waters from oil drilling, and keep California at the forefront of confronting global climate change. He wrote the nation's first climate insurance law to engage the insurance industry in the fight against climate-linked environmental disasters like wildfires and sea-level rise. Commissioner Lara received the 2017 U.N. Climate and Clean Air Award with California Governor Jerry Brown for his groundbreaking work to create California's short-lived climate pollutant strategy.

Karen Lockridge
Principal, Responsible Investment, Mercer

Karen Lockridge is a Principal in Mercer's Responsible Investment team, based in Toronto. The team assists investors to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors within their beliefs, policies, processes and portfolios. Karen was a member of the core team that developed Mercer's Investing in a Time of Climate Change research, and co-authored Building a Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure (2016) and Crossing the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Investing (2017). Karen was a member of the Government of Canada's Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results (2017/18). During her 25-year career at Mercer, Karen has held a variety of leadership roles in defined benefit risk management, strategy execution, knowledge management, and operations. In addition to her time at Mercer, Karen spent 18 months in 2010/11 as Director, Pension and Benefits at BMO Financial Group.

Jeremy McDaniels
Head of Secretariat, Sustainable Insurance Forum, UN Environment Programme

Jeremy McDaniels (UN Environment) is Head of Secretariat of the Sustainable Insurance Forum (SIF), the global leadership group of insurance supervisors working together to strengthen their responses to sustainability issues facing the insurance sector, including climate risks. He is also co-founder of International Network of Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S), where he leads strategic projects and advisory engagements with global financial centres on sustainable finance market development. Jeremy has served as lead UNEP representative on sustainable finance to several international coalitions, including the NGFS, G20, and IAIS. He previously served as a programme manager with the UN Environment's Inquiry on Sustainable Finance, where he supported the design and implementation of policy roadmaps and regulatory strategies on sustainability issues. Prior to joining UN Environment, Jeremy worked as a management consultant and an academic researcher.

Cynthia McHale
Senior Director of Insurance, Ceres

Cynthia leads Ceres' strategy for mobilizing US insurers and industry regulators to confront the risks of global warming, and the opportunities presented by the global clean energy transition. She oversees Ceres' sector research, as well as insurer and regulator engagement activities. Cynthia frequently speaks at insurance industry gatherings and to the media on how growing physical impact risks, energy transition risks and legal liability risks will directly affect the insurance sector. Cynthia also leads Ceres' work to implement the Climate Action 100+ initiative—a five-year campaign to move the largest carbon-emitters across different sectors to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and improve their climate-related financial disclosures. Prior to Ceres, Cynthia was a senior-level strategy consultant at Accenture. In addition to working with leading insurers, she worked to implement financial safety-nets and financial literacy in various parts of the developing world, including South Africa, Kenya, and India.

Clare Murray
Analyst, 2° Investing Initiative

Clare joined the 2°ii in February 2017 in the Berlin office. Clare leads the development of the portfolio analysis and company reporting and has managed the implementation of these tools with different financial supervisors including the Swiss government and California Department of Insurance. This has involved the automation of the scenario reporting and the creation of the online platform for scenario analysis. She is currently working on producing company level scenario analysis. Prior to joining the 2°ii, Clare worked in Chile conducting applied research into the incorporation of solar thermal energy into industrial processes with Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy in Germany and Chile. Prior to that she worked as a mechanical engineer for Mining Development in Australia.

California State Senator Nancy Skinner

An environmental trailblazer, state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, coauthored last year's SB 100 to move California to 100% renewable electricity by 2045. In the Assembly and Senate, she authored bills to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles, expand solar net metering, mandate clean energy storage, increase the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances, and reform PACE clean energy financing. In 1990, she co-founded ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and directed ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection program, the first effort to engage local governments in climate awareness and carbon reduction efforts.

California State Senator Henry Stern

A sixth-generation Californian with family roots in agriculture and entertainment, Senator Stern was elected to represent the 27th Senate District, which includes parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, in 2016. A former civics teacher and environmental lawyer, Stern is the first millennial elected to the California State Senate. He enjoys volunteering at his local Boys & Girls Club, hiking, surfing and cooking. Stern is an alumnus of Harvard University and UC Berkeley Law.

Kristen Torres Pawling
Sustainability Program Director, County of Los Angeles

Kristen Torres Pawling is the Sustainability Program Director in Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office, which provides regional policy leadership on equity, economy, and environment. Her issue areas include climate, housing, land use, transportation, and public health. Prior to joining the Chief Sustainability Office, Kristen advocated for integrated transportation and land use planning at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She previously worked for the nation's largest regional planning agency crafting the Southern California's sustainable communities strategy. Kristen also served in the Schwarzenegger and Brown administrations to implement California's climate and sustainable communities law. She is an appointed member of the Culver City General Plan Advisory Committee. Kristen holds a bachelor's degree in geography/environmental studies and a master's in urban and regional planning from UCLA.

Raghuveer Vinukollu
Natural Catastrophe Solutions Manager, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.

Raghuveer Vinukollu is a Natural Catastrophe Solutions manager at Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. ("Munich Re") based in Princeton, New Jersey. He is a member of the Strategic Products team and leads the flood insurance strategy for Munich Re in the U.S. His responsibilities include development of innovative products designed to cover various natural catastrophe exposures, either through traditional reinsurance structures or private label approaches.

Prior to joining Munich Re, Raghuveer worked at Swiss Re where he began his reinsurance career as a Natural Hazard specialist, developing probalistic models for Flood and Storm Surge perils.  He later transitioned to the Facultative Programs unit as a Property Reinsurance Underwriter.

Raghuveer has a PhD from Princeton University with a focus on land surface hydrology. He is frequent speaker on climate adaptation and resiliency, as well as sea level rise and the impact of flooding on local businesses and personal property.  Raghuveer is also a strong advocate for the Natural Catastrophe Protection Gap initiative, an initiative to close the protection gap between economic and insured losses.

LeRoy Westerling
Professor, UC Merced

Dr. LeRoy Westerling is Professor of Management and Founding Faculty of the Ernest and Julio Gallo Management Program, the Department of Management of Complex Systems, and the Management of Innovation, Sustainability and Technology Graduate Group at UC Merced. Previous appointments included tenured professor of Geography and of Environmental Engineering. Prior to coming to UC Merced, he spent six years in the Climate Research Division of Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a Post-graduate Researcher and an Assistant Project Scientist. His research interests include applied climatology and seasonal forecasting for wildfire management, climate change impacts on wildfire and related particulate emissions, carbon flux, forest vegetation and property losses; paleo reconstructions of climate-wildfire interactions; and simulation and scenario analysis for resource management and policy. He has served as lead author for wildfire in the first four California State Climate Assessments. Dr. Westerling holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. He has published extensively on wildfire and climate.