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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

C42016 is bullfrogpowered - But, what does this mean?

CatIQ's Canadian Catastrophe Conference is bullfrogpowered with 100% green electricity. You'll see the signs at this year's conference - but what does it mean for an event to be bullfrogpowered and why is choosing green electricity significant for the insurance industry?

Who is Bullfrog Power?

Bullfrog Power is Canada's leading green energy provider. Since 2005, Bullfrog Power has been providing Canadian individuals, businesses and events with green energy products that allow our customers to reduce their environment impact, support the development of new renewable energy and help to bring new projects online across Canada, from solar at schools to renewable projects with First Nations Communities.

Bullfrog Power is endorsed by leading environmental and heath organizations such as WWF-Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and The Lung Association.

What does it mean to bullfrogpower an event with 100% green electricity?

Whether you are bullfrogpowering you home, office or an event, choosing Bullfrog Power's green electricity works the same way. When you choose green electricity with Bullfrog Power, you make sure that for every kWh of electricity you purchase, a kWh from a pollution-free, renewable source is produced and put on the grid on your behalf. At C42016, the electricity usage is calculated based on the venue's square footage.

Once electricity is put on the grid, all the electrons are the same and it isn't possible to direct electrons from clean sources straight to your home, business or event. What's important is how these electrons are created - and this is something you can control. Bullfrog's green electricity comes from a blend on wind and low-impact hydro power sources from new Canadian renewable energy facilities.

By choosing green electricity from Bullfrog Power, CatIQ's Canadian Catastrophe Conference in reducing the amount of electricity needed from polluting sources, displacing the electricity from those polluting sources on the grid and helping to green our grid.

Why is choosing green energy significant for the insurance industry?

The insurance industry has long been ahead of the curve in understanding the risks that climate change poses. Bullfrog Power's Green Index of our leading bullfrogpowered organizations includes some of Canada's most prominent insurance providers, including The Co-operators - one of the ten largest supporters of Bullfrog Power's green energy - and Manulife. One of the ways that these two businesses are leaders is that they have integrated their understanding of the impacts of climate change into a decision to take action to reduce their own environmental impact. That decision is a signal to the industry and their customers that we can all take responsibility for the energy we use.

At C42016, you'll hear a lot about the types of catastrophes that can occur and how we can prepare to meet those risks. Bullfrog Power is this year's environmental sponsor and our messed is that the risk of catastrophes associated with climate is real and, whether you are an individual renting an apartment or a global corporation, there is something you can do about it today.

To learn more about Bullfrog Power's green energy, visit bullfrogpower.com, or follow any of our social media account, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Evaluating the Vulnerability of Toxic Release Inventory Facilities to Determine How They May Impact Marine Life on the Texas Coast

Sequoia Riley (Texas, US)

Committee Members: Dr. Samuel Brody, Dr. Wes Highfield, Dr. Antonietta Quigg

Abstract: Multiple research studies on the effects of flooding in Texas coastal communities--located along the Texas Coastal Bend (i.e. Gulf of Mexico)--have been done by professional sustainable development planners, environmental planners, and ecologists. For decades, these studies have been examining the negative environmental impacts caused by major flooding events due to the insufficient methods of environmental protection that have been implemented by state and local governments. Although these research studies have assisted planners and ecologists to evaluate and create better alternative methods to protect the environmental components from flooding on land, no research has been conducted to investigate how floods also effect the marine environment (i.e. pelagic ecosystem) when they recede back out into the ocean after being retained within the Texas coastal communities for a certain period of time. It has been acknowledged that as the flood water within the Texas coastal communities recedes back into the pelagic ecosystem, it carries with it toxic chemicals from various toxic waste facilities. At this current time, vulnerability of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) facilities were calculated and analyzed from October 2013-May 2015 based on their proximity to the four types of flood vulnerable areas focused for this study (100-year floodplain hazard areas, 500-year floodplain hazard areas, coastal flood risk zones, and barrier island territories). It was hypothesized that the results from the analysis will show that a high percentage of the toxic waste facilities are located in highly and moderately vulnerable coastal flood risk zones and flood hazard zones. Surprisingly, the highest percentage of TRI facilities were found outside flood hazard zones and barrier island territories recognized as highly and moderately vulnerable areas. Whereas, there was a high percentage of TRI facilities located in four of the five coastal flood risk zones. This study is a starting point in determining the various types of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes being released into the marine environment locally speaking. For future research, determining the various types of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes being released from TRI facilities (globally, nationally, and locally) need to be taken into consideration. This also includes examining the negative impacts in the marine environment caused by the release of toxic chemicals and hazardous waste manufactured by TRI facilities (globally, nationally, and locally).

This blog post has been written by Sequoia Riley who recently graduated from Texas A&M University with a Master's in Marine Resource Management and who obtained her Bachelor's in Marine Science with a minor in Applied Mathematics from Coastal Carolina University.

Connect with her on LinkedIn
Or contact her directly at: sriley3773@gmail.com

Monday, 18 January 2016

Back to Normal - After a Catastrophe

Steve Johnston (Toronto, ON)

I have been told the Insurance Industry is under siege.  I have been told there are “disruptors” that are attempting to force a seismic shift to the industry.

Whether any of us choose to believe the futurists or not is irrelevant. 

History should be able to guide all of us.  Unfortunately our perceptions of history are very different.  Each of us holds a different lens up to the past.

I submit to you, dear reader, there is no “right” answer for any industry, there is only what the consumer needs and wants and everyone else must fall in line.  What the consumer needs and wants after a natural catastrophe is no exception.

In 2005 my wife and I enjoyed 4 glorious days in Mexico on our honeymoon until Hurricane Wilma ruined the party.  I remember 2 things vividly about that event: First, spending 24 hours in the bathroom of our hotel room because it was the safest place to be.  There were no windows that could be blown out in that room, only a drop ceiling that happened to drop on us after it became saturated, breaking apart.

My second vivid memory is sitting on the bus after we were told to evacuate.  There was no air conditioning, everybody was tired, and everything was wet.  All we wanted at that moment was to be home, back in Canada, with all of this gone.  Like Humpty Dumpty, we wanted to be put back together again as quickly as possible.  We wanted for this catastrophe to be over NOW!

Our vacation provider made that happen as efficiently and effectively as they could.  Today, as my wife and I plan a spring break vacation for our family, I know what vacation provider I hope to be travelling with.

If this catastrophe had happened in my hometown, if our home had been flooded, if our glass windows were shattered,  if our roof had blown off I would find myself praying for somebody to please put me back to normal again!  And if my prayers were to be answered perhaps I would find myself in the presence of a co-ordinated effort to rebuild my home and my community and our local economy as quickly and effectively as possible.

  •   Enter the Insurance industry
  •   Enter the Municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments      
  •   Enter Academia
  •   Enter Socially Responsible businesses
  •   Enter the Red Cross
  •   Enter Volunteers from across the country
  •   Enter charitable organizations and organized fundraisers
  •   Enter my friends, family and neighbours
  •  Enter a diverse team of individuals working together, to bring back normal as soon as  possible.   A common purpose uniting many.

No organization or industry is under siege here, we must all commit to working together to create an effective framework to manage recovery from these catastrophes.  This is our challenge.

Those who can co-ordinate most effectively, those who can get me back to normal, will be the ones who deserve my loyalty.  

This blog post has been written by Steve Johnston, Director of Corporate Reinsurance at the Co-operators General Insurance company. He is a member of CatIQ's Canadian Catastrophe Conference's 2016 Advisory Committee and the moderator of "Who Pays the Bill" which will take place on Feb. 2nd during the C4 Conference. Steve will also be moderating the Student Delegate Presentations session.

Co-operators Twitter: @The_Cooperators

Monday, 11 January 2016

The likelihood of a forthcoming Cascadia earthquake and its impact on British Columbian infrastructure

(Inayat Dhaliwal, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB)

Throughout history, earthquakes have caused damage to numerous places. The repercussions continue to impact these earthquake-prone regions; therefore, it becomes necessary to assess future hazards. The great Cascadia earthquake of 1700 caused destruction to individuals and property across the Pacific Ocean, specifically in Japan (Satake et al. 1996). Other places, such as Alaska and coastal British Columbia may also be exposed to the effects; however, the damages that occurred in Canada from the last earthquake are not documented and remain unknown (Xie et al. 2012). The Cascadia earthquake is triggered when the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, moves along the Cascadia subduction zone (Olsen et al. 2008). Most of the damage from this earthquake is caused by its effect on ground-shaking and tsunami height (Satake et al. 1996). This objective of this research was to analyze literature and discuss the likelihood of another great earthquake occurring in the Cascadia subduction zone and how it can extensively damage the infrastructure of Canadian metropolitan regions through ground shaking and tsunamis.

Earthquakes follow a cycle; therefore, a great Cascadia earthquake is most likely to reoccur (Mazzotti and Adams 2004). However, there is only a zero to twelve percent possibility that this earthquake will occur within 50 years. The possibility of this earthquake occurring is 30 to 100 times greater during slow-slip events. It was found that slow-slip events in Vancouver Island last 1-3 weeks and happen approximately every 13-15 months. As slow-slip events can be detected early and easily, they can provide great insight into the likelihood of a forthcoming earthquake so that precautionary steps can be taken.

This earthquake will cause ground motion of ten centimeters per second in Vancouver for two to five minutes (Olsen et al. 2008). Such ground motion can cause destruction to roads, railways, bridges, and buildings. It can also trigger landslides preventing access between regions (Hungr et al. 1999). This earthquake may instigate a tsunami, which would direct most of its power towards the Pacific Northwest, affecting BC (Xie et al. 2012). Wave heights of up to 25 meters would lead to coastal flooding, changes in land level, and damage to coastal infrastructure (Cheung et al. 2011). This catastrophe would result in billions of dollars of damage to Vancouver, a major Canadian city, and therefore, it is important to develop plan of action if such an event were to arise.  

This blog post has been written by Inaya Dhaliwal, fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Calgary working towards a double degree Bachelor of Science, Geology (Minor in Geophysics) & Bachelor of Science, Environmental Science (Statistics Concentration). http://www.ucalgary.ca/science/ 

Inayat applied for CatIQ's Canadian Catastrophe Conference's Student Delegate Program.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Tips on Managing International Deployments in Response to Catastrophic Events

Mike Koch (Kitchener, ON)

During the occurrence of high volume or catastrophic events, whether natural or man-made, independent adjusting firms are responsible for organizing and mobilizing often large groups of qualified CAT adjusters. Critical to the successful execution of such initiatives are the following actions: tailoring one’s deployment plan to the severity of the event and the nature of the event (as declared by local government) the efficient identification of available adjuster personnel (within relative proximity to the event), adherence to necessary licensing standards, and the appropriate and efficient deployment of all necessary resources.  

The maintenance and accuracy of an organization’s available CAT adjuster inventory, along with information pertaining to level of experience, updated passport and licensing details, as well as geographic placement, is imperative to an organization’s overall success. Sophisticated systems and processes are often utilized to assist in the overall management of such endeavours. For instance, Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. utilizes the capabilities of their Command Centre. During such CAT events, the Command Centre is placed in “CAT mode,” serving as a central location for real-time information to support the management of events with the ability to provide real-time client reports and dashboards.

In CAT mode, the Command Centre consolidates weather information with intake and call volume information from CLAIMSALERT®, Crawford’s in-house contact centre. Claim details and adjuster deployment information are gathered to track, monitor and respond to the development of events. Through the use of geocoding, CAT response teams can quickly see high frequency and severity areas to deploy resources in an effective and efficient manner.

Based on the intelligence collected and the resources available to an organization to assist in the organization of deployment efforts during catastrophic events, the following considerations should be taken into account: 
  •  The size and severity of the storm.
  •  Accuracy of the intelligence predicting where the storm will hit and the population size of said region(s).
  • The number and coverage details of “Policy in Force” (PIF) of carrier clients within the effected region(s) as well as details pertaining to degree and extent of additional support required.
  • Determining the number of adjusters to place on standby to properly service clients.
  • Organizing and generating appropriate travel papers to enable adjusters to pass through customs and immigration upon arrival to a CAT site.
  • The arrangement of rental cars and accommodations for incoming adjusters – accommodations need to be made close to the catastrophic event but out of the path of further potential destruction.  
  • An induction centre is usually set up in the board room of the same hotel where accommodations are made.  
  • An induction centre assists in proper licensing (which must adhere to the local country’s laws) by providing applications and monitoring the quality assurance on each application. The same induction centre should also host orientation sessions for arriving adjusters to prepare them for site inspections from an operational standpoint. The centre can also assist the CAT team with addressing IT needs, etc. 

This blog post has been written by Mike Koch, National Property & Catastrophe Manager, Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc.

Pat Van Bakel, President & CEO, Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. is on CatIQ's Canadian Catastrophe Conference's 2016 Advisory Committee and will be a panelist on the Claims Executives panel during the conference.