What Emergency Responders Can Learn from the Business World

Natural disaster first-half claims top 10-year average

Natural catastrophe insurance losses reached an estimated $US42 billion ($57 billion) in the first half of the year to rise above the 10-year average while economic losses were lower, Aon’s Impact Forecasting says in a Global Catastrophe Recap.

Impact Forecasting MD and Head of Catastrophe Insight Steve Bowen says it was the costliest first six months of the year since 2011 for insurance losses, despite a below-average number of events.

The prolonged February freeze in North America associated with the Polar Vortex was the most significant, becoming the costliest winter weather-related event recorded, with $US22 billion ($30 billion) in economic losses and up to $US15 billion ($20 billion) in losses covered by insurance.

“The juxtaposition of observed record heat and cold around the globe highlighted the humanitarian and structural stresses from temperature extremes,” Mr Bowen said.

“As climate change continues to amplify the severity of weather events, it becomes more imperative to explore ways to better manage the physical and non-physical risks that are more urgently requiring actionable solutions.”…

What Emergency Responders Can Learn from the Business World

In 2015, New Jersey was ready for a pandemic. The state’s Department of Health (NJDOH) had conducted a full-scale exercise for influenza response, modeled on H1N1 and SARS as a highly contagious and airborne respiratory illness.

We believe that when the role of emergency management is meant to be one of only disaster response, we can only expect disaster.

Image credit: CactuSoup/Getty Images

Bringing in federal and state partner emergency management agencies, local jurisdictions, and hospitals, the scenario provided valuable insight into rapid procurement of medical equipment, hospital personnel needs, and vaccine distribution, all of which were carefully incorporated into a comprehensive statewide pandemic response plan. Still, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, New Jersey was not spared. More than 26,000 people have died of the virus since early 2020, more than five times as many deaths as the NJDOH had predicted in their 2015 modeling of just such an event.

NJDOH is not alone. U.S. emergency response teams at all levels of government have been caught off-guard; hurricanes, wildfires, winter weather, and civil unrest over the past year consistently exposed our shortcomings in managing crises. Why does this continue to happen? Are we really managing our emergencies? The answer, we think, is “no….READ ON

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