Earlier this year I had the fascinating opportunity to attend the 4th Annual National Tornado Summit in Oklahoma City and was amazed at how much energy (no pun intended) has been generated around this topic.
The summit attracted over 900 attendees and to give you an idea of how much organization was required; the Summit task force consisted of no less than 3 Co-chairs and 32 committee members.
Oklahoma has been particularly impacted by a number of these recent storms and the committee members are drawn from a wide range of interested stakeholders including representatives from NOAA, the University of Central Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Insurance Department, the office of Emergency Management and representatives from numerous primary insurance providers.
We have seen what appears to be an increase in Tornado activity in recent years and according to the published PCS estimates, there have been a total of 9 events in 2010-2014 which produced insured damages in excess of$2.00 billion per event and over $30 billion in total.
In todays interconnected world, graphic reports of damage are made available almost immediately and it is plausible to conclude that the advent of modern communication systems has significantly raised the public awareness of the impact these devastating events can have on communities.
The primary role of this summit is to maintain and promote public awareness and raise the importance of preventative measures. It was evident that a significant majority of the vender's on site were there to showcase the advantages of the latest domestic and commercial storm shelters.
I was very surprised at the scope of topics covered by the summit– over the three days there were nine General Sessions and thirty three Breakout sessions organized into specific tracks allowing you focus on the specialty where you have expertize or you could branch out into other tracks of study and broaden your perspective. The summit also found time to organize offsite tours of the Oklahoma Emergency management Center and the National Weather Center.
All in all I found it a very comprehensive and informative summit that was extremely well organized, I feel that the initiative is one that is worth supporting and I took the opportunity to speak with a couple of the organizers with the goal of highlighting the role and perspective that Reinsurance providers may have in the hope of inclusion in future summit agendas.
Our industry provides a unique perspective putting us in a position where we are well placed to assist in raising the awareness of the dangers posed by tornados and severe convective storms, but is there more we could be doing?
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk