HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), today will hold its eighth annual “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season” symposium in Houston, Texas, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Houston Branch. The event focuses on educating communities about strategies to better prepare for, and respond to, severe storms ahead of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1. The event will also highlight the important progress Houston has made in its recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects that hurricanes will become more intense in coming years, increasing their potential to put lives, homes, businesses and the local economies at risk. In addition, officials at Colorado State University and North Carolina State University predict there could be between 14 and 18 named storms in 2018, with up to five developing into major hurricanes.
Disaster preparedness can help shield communities from costly damage and help mitigate the negative economic impact of these powerful storms. For example, a 2017 study conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences found that every $1 spent through federal mitigation grants saves society $6 in future disaster costs.
“Preparedness is critical to safeguarding lives and property from extreme weather — especially as we head into the 2018 hurricane season,” said Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers. “We look forward to shining a light on how taking precautionary steps before a storm can help strengthen the resiliency of our neighborhoods.”
The symposium will convene businesses, homeowners and local officials to discuss how preventive measures can help build stronger communities and foster economic growth. Thanks to ongoing recovery efforts, the Houston economy has steadily rebounded, bringing the city back to pre-storm levels of growth.
“Over the past decade, the Federal Reserve has placed an increased emphasis on both physical and economic resilience, and you can see that in the course of Houston’s recovery,” said Daron Peschel, Senior Vice President In Charge of the Dallas Fed’s Houston Branch. “‘Houston Strong’ spoke not only to the strength of our community but also to the strength of our economy.” Peschel will deliver a keynote address on the Fed’s preparedness and response to Hurricane Harvey and the economic impact of the storm.
As part of the symposium, safety and industry professionals will expand on community resiliency strategies during a panel discussion moderated by Woodward, who will be joined by Peschel and the following panelists:
- David Burke, Vice President, Programs & Field Operations, Team Rubicon
- Eric M. Nelson, Senior Vice President, Catastrophe Strategy & Analysis, Travelers
- Roy Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer, Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety
Burke added, “At Team Rubicon, we deploy military veterans and volunteers in response to those affected by disasters, so we’re very familiar with what can happen when a storm rolls through. We hope this program raises awareness of the hazards of the upcoming hurricane season and encourages preparedness to prevent damage to property and reduce overall impacts.”
The symposium will also honor Smart Home America, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of stronger construction methods, improved building codes and policies that create resilient communities. Smart Home America will receive the annual $100,000 Travelers Excellence in Community Resilience Award presented by the Travelers Institute and the Travelers Foundation for its leadership in building stronger communities using a ground-up approach based on partnership, education and collaboration across both public and private sectors.
“We are committed to building thriving neighborhoods by supporting organizations that are creating safe, stable and vital communities,” said Erin Haberman, Senior Program Officer with the Travelers Foundation. “We created the Community Resilience Award to shine a light on organizations doing innovative work to help communities better prepare for and recover from disasters.”
The event is held in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Houston Branch, Team Rubicon, the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston and the Insurance Council of Texas.
For more information on the Travelers Institute and preparing for hurricane season, please visit travelers.com.
About the Travelers Institute
The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and to the financial services industry more broadly. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers’ senior management, as well as the technical expertise of many of Travelers’ underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information, analysis and solutions to public policymakers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property and casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit travelers.com.