Podcast

Risk in Context Podcast: Devastating flood risk is often underestimated

Floods are among the most deadly and devastating natural disasters worldwide.

Cars in a flooded street

Floods are among the most deadly and devastating natural disasters worldwide. And they are also frequent and pervasive, leaving behind them a path of destruction that requires a long recovery process.

In this episode of Risk in Context, Daniel Kaniewski, managing director for public sector within Marsh McLennan Advantage, talks with Dr. Bev Adams, who heads climate and catastrophe resilience within Marsh Advisory, Melissa Leuck, flood industry sales and client relationship leader at Torrent Technologies, and Swenja Surminski, insights director for climate resilience at Marsh McLennan Advantage. They discuss the impact that flooding has on organizations and societies and the actions that businesses can take to address this risk.

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Key takeaways

Flood risk is often underestimated

Despite its potential impact, many businesses do not fully understand their risk to flooding and often underestimate the likelihood that their properties will be affected.

Changing risk requires constant review

Flood risk is not static and changes over time, especially as climate change influences weather patterns and drought and wildfire affect land’s absorptive capabilities. Even businesses with extensive mitigation plans in place should regularly review and update them according to their changing risk profile. 

Think beyond the impact on your properties

As they strive to build resilience to flood events, companies should look beyond their buildings and consider how a flood’s impact on third parties can affect their operations.

About our speakers

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Daniel Kaniewski

Managing Director, Public Sector, Marsh McLennan Advantage

Daniel Kaniewski is managing director for the public sector at Marsh McLennan Advantage. He was previously Deputy Administrator for Resilience at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In this role, he was FEMA’s second ranking official and led the agency's pre-disaster programs, including the National Flood Insurance Program.

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Dr. Beverley Adams

Head of Climate and Catastrophe Resilience, Marsh Advisory

Dr. Bev Adams leads Marsh Advisory’s ESG and climate consulting services. She is an internationally recognized specialist in property flood resilience (PFR) and adaptation, establishing Flood Re’s nationwide event response program and driving change via the UK Government’s PFR Roundtable business adoption pathway. She worked for the World Bank before joining Marsh McLennan in 2012 and has a PhD in coastal risk management from University College London.

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Melissa Leuck

Senior Vice President of Sales and Client Relations, Torrent Technologies

Melissa Leuck is senior vice president of sales and client relations at Torrent Technologies. She leads the client executive team at Torrent in pursuit of new and expanded business opportunities, delivering results consistent with Torrent’s strategy.

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Swenja Surminski

Managing Director of Climate and Sustainability, Marsh McLennan Advantage

Swenja Surminski is managing director of climate and sustainability at Marsh McLennan Advantage, and chairs the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative. She is a Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on climate change and the environment at the London School of Economics and has recently been appointed by the UK government to the UK Climate Change Committee, an independent statutory body that advises the UK government on emissions targets and on adapting to the impacts of climate change. She was contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and has written several books and articles on climate risk management.