GREENVILLE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), will host its ninth annual “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season” symposium in Greenville, North Carolina, at East Carolina University. The event will provide community members with strategies to better prepare for, and recover from, severe storms during the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.
“The storms that hit North Carolina last year caused substantial damage and served as a reminder of the importance of planning,” said Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers. “With this year’s National Hurricane Center forecast calling for up to four major hurricanes, preparation is key, as it only takes one storm to devastate an entire community.”
In addition to preparing existing structures before a storm, it is critical to design newly constructed homes and buildings with up-to-date building codes to ensure resilience. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) ranked North Carolina seventh in its 2018 Rating the States report, which assessed the progress of 18 hurricane-prone coastal states in strengthening their residential building code systems. The report indicated that North Carolina’s building code system was less thorough than it was in 2015 and identified opportunities for improvement.
“Just as it’s important for communities to understand their risks and plan accordingly, local leaders must also make smart decisions regarding zoning laws and building codes,” said Natalie Enclade, Director of Individual and Community Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who will deliver the session’s keynote address. “This can reduce the number of structures in the storm’s path and provide greater resilience for the buildings and infrastructure that are already there. I encourage everyone to create a culture of preparedness and to take steps now to protect families, homes, businesses and other valuable assets.”
This event is being held in collaboration with the Small Business and Technology Development Center, Independent Insurance Agents of North Carolina, East Carolina University College of Business Risk Management and Insurance Program, and IBHS. Jessica Kearney, Second Vice President of the Travelers Institute, will moderate a panel discussion on community safety and resilience strategies with the following industry experts:
- Perry Bird, Director, Eastern Region, Rebuilding Together
- Elise Montanari, Vice President, Personal Insurance Analytics, Travelers
- Gina Schwitzgebel, CEO, General Manager, North Carolina Joint Underwriting Association and North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association
- Alister Watt, Chief Product Officer, IBHS
At the event, the Travelers Foundation will honor Rebuilding Together, Inc. with the Travelers Excellence in Community Resilience Award of $100,000. Rebuilding Together is a nonprofit organization with over 30 years of experience in home and community rehabilitation, preservation and revitalization. The award will support the launch of the organization’s Safe and Healthy Housing Disaster Recovery training program, which will educate communities about the essentials of effectively restoring homes after disasters.
“We’re focused on providing long-term support to families in the wake of a catastrophe, helping them rebuild their lives, homes and communities,” said Caroline Blakely, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rebuilding Together. “We’re grateful to Travelers for this award, which will enable us to expand our work and launch our disaster response training program as well as bring awareness to the importance of having a strong disaster recovery plan.”
The Travelers Foundation gives the Travelers Excellence in Community Resilience Award annually to an organization that demonstrates leadership in addressing community resilience. The 2020 application will open later this year.
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 casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit www.travelers.com.