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Managing the Risk of Extreme Weather Events in a
Changing Climate

First Wednesday Seminar
February 3, 2010

The Risk of Extreme Weather Events in a Changing Climate

In future years, climate changes may significantly boost both the frequency and severity of storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. Damages from such weather phenomena have been shown to be catastrophic – and climate change could further exacerbate the risks. Moreover, historical data for such risks may be unreliable, loss projections may actually be underestimated, and traditional diversification strategies may fail.

The recent financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina, and major floods point to the need to improve our detection, measurement, and analysis of catastrophic and dependent risks. At this seminar, discussions will focus on how climate change may enhance extreme events, how mitigation can help manage extreme events, how to ensure proper functioning of insurance markets in these situations, and the proper role of the federal government in addressing these risks. 



Video and Audio
Event Audio (mp3)
click to stream and right-click to download​​

Agenda and Bios

Roger Cooke, Chauncey Starr Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future
Download Presentation (PDF)

Roger Cooke joined RFF in September 2005 as the first appointee to the Chauncey Starr Chair in Risk Analysis. His research has widely influenced risk assessment methodology, particularly in the areas of expert judgment and uncertainty analysis. He is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on mathematical modeling of risk and uncertainty. His recent research has encompassed health risks from oil fires in Kuwait following the first Gulf War, chemical weapons disposal, nuclear risk, nitrogen oxide emissions, and microbiological risk. His current research interests include structured expert judgment methodologies and uncertainty analysis, and his work focuses on the implementation of uncertainty analysis in policy-related decisionmaking.

Roger Cooke



Gordon Woo, Risk Management Solutions

Gordon Woo is a “catastrophist,” specializing in mathematical aspects of catastrophe risk modeling, primarily within the insurance industry. In 2004, he was named by Treasury & Risk magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in finance. He was written widely on risk analysis, and is author of the book, The Mathematics of Natural Catastrophes, published by Imperial College Press. He was a top mathematics graduate of Cambridge University, completed his Ph.D. at MIT as a Kennedy Scholar, and was a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows.

Gordon Woo
Paul Embrechts, ETH Zurich

Paul Embrechts specializes in actuarial mathematics and quantitative risk management. He has held previous academic positions at the Universities of Leuven, Limburg, and London (Imperial College). He is an elected fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, honorary fellow of the Institute and the Faculty of Actuaries, corresponding member of the Italian Institute of Actuaries, member honoris causa of the Belgian Institute of Actuaries and is on the editorial board of numerous scientific journals. He co-authored the influential books Modelling of Extremal Events for Insurance and Finance (Springer, 1997) and Quantitative Risk Management: Concepts, Techniques and Tools (Princeton University Press, 2005). Embrechts consults on issues in quantitative risk management for financial institutions, insurance companies, and international regulatory authorities.

Paul Embrechts
Debra Ballen, Institute for Business & Home Safety

Debra Ballen joined IBHS in 2008 as the general counsel and senior vice president of public policy. In this capacity, she is responsible for managing all of the organization’s legal matters and overseeing its public policy efforts. Additionally, she serves as the organization’s corporate secretary. Prior to her work with IBHS, Ballen was the executive vice president of public policy management for the American Insurance Association (AIA) in Washington, DC, where she developed and implemented policy for AIA's priority federal and state public policy issues. She also has served on the OECD High-Level Advisory Board on Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes, which includes a heavy emphasis on mitigation measures.

Debra Ballen
Sharlene Leurig, Senior Manager, Insurance Program, CERES

Sharlene Leurig is Senior Manager of the Insurance Program at Ceres. She works with insurers, insurance regulators and investors to raise awareness of climate risk within the insurance industry and to discover opportunities for business innovation in responding to climate change. Before coming to Ceres, she was a fellow in the MIT-USGS Science Impact Collaborative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she focused on the role of science in multi-stakeholder resource planning and dispute resolution.

Charlene Leurig
Panel Question and Answer


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