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Underwater Underwriting: Flood Insurance in the Age of Climate Change

February 28, 2020 @ 7:15 am – 11:45 am
UMass Club -
One Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108

Adaptation to climate change has emerged as an essential and permanent topic for professional, academic, government and public discussion.

Civil engineers, architects, building owners, real estate investors, insurers, planners, environmental regulators, transportation providers, emergency responders, public health providers, and many others are grappling with how to incorporate the evident need for adaptation and resilience into much of what they do. Academia is also deepening its involvement with this most important and fascinating set of public policy issues.

The growing body of experience and expertise in adaptation is not widely appreciated either within or across the traditional silos that define professions, disciplines and practices. At the same time, there is no regular, ongoing opportunity for adaptation professionals from various fields to meet in Boston to cross-pollinate ideas and share solutions to common problems.

The Environmental Business Council of New England (EBC) and the Sustainable Solutions Lab at the University of Massachusetts Boston have collaborated to establish a quarterly series of half-day Climate Adaptation Forums that will provide cutting-edge thought leadership on adaptation to climate change for environmental and energy professionals, policy makers, municipal officials, NGOs, and practitioners.

These quarterly forums will address everything from infrastructure and design solutions to communication challenges and barriers to implementation to policy solutions to the nexus of climate and equity. Local, national and global speakers will represent forward-thinking institutions, global firms, academia, government and other high level practitioners. Join the ever-growing group of professionals working to address the challenge of climate change adaptation and resiliency at the quarterly forums.

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Upcoming Forum: Underwater Underwriting: Flood Insurance in the Age of Climate Change

More Information and Registration

More than 50 million people in the U.S. are at risk from flooding either along rivers and streams or in coastal areas. This number is only rising as climate change causes more extreme precipitation, hurricanes and nor’easters, sea level rise, and more. However, current publicly available flood risk assessment tools are not sufficient to quantify future flood risk and federal flood insurance programs and policies are not yet equipped to address the growing threat.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through its flood insurance, flood mapping, and floodplain management requirements plays a critical role in state and local climate adaptation efforts. Yet, the NFIP’s flood maps are often outdated and do not consider future risks from climate change. While many agree reforms are necessary, attempts to better reflect current and future risks could also impose significant costs on low income communities and communities of color, exacerbating existing patterns of racial inequality in the housing market.

Join us for this EBC/UMass Boston Climate Adaptation Forum to learn about the intersection of flood insurance, risk management, and environmental justice. Speakers will discuss approaches to addressing the shortcomings of NFIP programs and policies, ongoing efforts to better incorporate climate change into the industry, and the unintended consequences that flood insurance reform could have for low income communities and communities of color.

As with past Forums, there will be sufficient of time for audience engagement during the moderated discussion with the speakers.

Forum Co-Chairs

  • Samuel Bell, CFM, Forum Steering Committee Member, Senior Resiliency Planner, GZA
  • Deanna Moran, Forum Steering Committee Member, Director, Environmental Planning, Conservation Law Foundation


  • Howard Kunreuther, James G. Dinan Professor Emeritus of Decision Sciences & Public Policy, Operations, Information and Decisions (OID) Department, Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center,
    Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
  • Marion Mollegen McFadden, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Senior Advisor, Resilience, Enterprise Community Partners
  • Robert Moore, Senior Policy Analyst, Healthy People & Thriving Communities Program, NRDC
  • Amanda Devecka-Rinear, Executive Director, New Jersey Organizing Project
More Information and Registration