Miami under the microscope: the quest for resiliency

Swiss Re is taking its resiliency message to the small screen. Global Partnerships senior client manager Alex Kaplan participated in the National Geographic documentary “Years of Living Dangerously.”

Hosted by actor Jack Black and aired on national television in the US, the programme looks at climate change and rising sea levels and the danger they pose to coastal communities around the world. One of the cities it highlights is Miami, with the risks and consequences of large-scale commercial and residential construction in the city. In the segment featuring Swiss Re, the documentary touches on the role insurance plays in strengthening city resilience.

Kaplan explained the financial consequences of aggressive development in Miami, an area that may well be prone to permanent flooding from the rising sea level in future.

“People overwhelmingly underestimate their exposure,” said Kaplan. “The expectation is the government will come in and solve the problem so why should they deal with it today?”

Kaplan explained the protection gap principle at play: flood insurance doesn’t cover the buildings when the sea rises; instead, the costs are borne by the property’s owner.

Recognizing that the current situation is unsustainable, Swiss Re is working with the private and public sectors to make our cities more resilient—through pre-disaster funding mechanisms, thoughtful planning and innovation.

Watch the clip and learn more about the documentary.

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