Natural Disasters: Insurers Have a Decisive Part to Play Alongside Public Authorities

Gaëlle Olivier, CEO of AXA Asia P&C, is representing AXA at the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai (Japan). ALL NEWS  |  Climate
Mar 17, 2015

The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR)*, held from March 14th to March 18th 2015 in the city of Sendai, Japan, will be the opportunity to adopt a post-2015 global framework for disaster risk reduction, following the 2005-2015 "Hyogo Framework for Action". This framework will guide and support collective efforts to build resilient nations, cities and communities and reduce the risks of disasters globally.

The World Conference is expected to be one of the largest global gatherings of leaders and stakeholders committed to disaster risk reduction and resilience, with over 8,000 expected participants from governments, civil society, NGOs, academia and the private sector.

This conference is an opportunity for AXA to highlight the role insurance can play in disaster risk reduction alongside public authorities in the new Hyogo Framework, in the buildup to the COP 21, international climate negotiations to be held in Paris in December 2015.

*The UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction is organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. In 2014, AXA joined the Private Sector Advisory Group of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).

I see four important disaster risk reduction issues on which public and private actors, including the insurance sector, should move forward collectively:

1. Understanding risks and assessing them: a better understanding and a broad public awareness are critical to design more resilient societies
2. Preventing risks: we need to strengthen resilience before a disaster happens and also build back better after it has struck
3. Managing risks: by setting up early warning systems and sharing risk management expertise
4. Investing responsibly: by reducing the number of constructions in flood-prone areas, and more broadly by assessing the value and performance of investments over the medium and longer term

We insurers are often reduced to being the global safety net behind the world's economy: the payers of last resort after the catastrophe has struck. But absorbing losses and damages is only the visible part of what we do.With our combined financial and risk management expertise, we have an important economic and societal role to play in helping our clients, cities, local governments, SMEs and larger corporations to reduce their vulnerability to disaster risk.

The AXA Group is also proud to have signed on March 13th, 2015 the insurance industry's statement in support of disaster risk reduction, outlining the specific role that the insurance industry can play as risk managers, risk carriers and institutional investors to reduce disaster risk. More information.