WTW to support Medellín disaster risk management project

Willis Towers Watson has launched a public-private partnership project on disaster risk management and climate resilience for the City of Medellín, Colombia. Collaborating with the city’s government, the partnership will develop parametric flood and earthquake insurance products, as well as landslide protection.

Hannover Re, as members of the Insurance Development Forum, together with the international humanitarian assistance and sustainable development organisation Global Communities, are also collaborating on the project.

Héctor Martínez, country head of WTW Colombia, said: “Being at the forefront of climate and disaster resilience in Colombia is vital for Willis Towers Watson. This initiative that we have been working on with the city of Medellín helps communities to increase their ability to respond to and recover from disasters, it is the first of its kind in the country and we will continue working with other cities on similar projects.”

It is hoped that the Medellín project will offer a blueprint for cities across the world to increase access to appropriate and bespoke climate risk management and resilience solutions.

Once the products are taken to market, the city government of Medellín will be the policyholder via its fund for disaster risk and emergencies management, Fondo Municipal para la Gestión del Riesgo de Emergencias y Desastres, providing funding for emergencies, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Payouts will benefit local affected communities in accordance with the municipality’s emergency response plans; for example, via food and cash disbursements, and rapid repair of basic infrastructure. The project thus increases the resilience of households, communities and the City of Medellín to climate risks and natural disasters through insurance protection and other resilience measures, serving as a case study for holistic disaster risk management elsewhere in Colombia and around the world.

Global Communities CEO, David Weiss added: “Global Communities is proud to partner with public and private sector actors such as Willis Towers Watson and Hannover Re to build climate and disaster risk resilience in Medellín. Drawing on our experience partnering with communities and engaging stakeholders around climate resilience, we see this innovative, data-driven initiative as a model for new ways to support populations most directly impacted by climate change.”

Paula Pagniez, Americas practice lead, Climate and Resilience Hub, Willis Towers Watson, said: “Willis Towers Watson is honoured to accompany Medellín in its quest for climate resilience for its communities. Based on the latest science, modelling, and analytics, the consortium will use climate risk insurance to integrate finance and supporting services, bringing protection to the most vulnerable exposed populations.”

The InsuResilience Solutions Fund, funded by KfW Development Bank and managed by Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, is providing co-funding for the product development of the insurance solution.

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