It was a bad PR day for the city of Minneapolis last week when its chief resilience officer left after only seven months and without having turned in any finished work. The jokes here almost wrote themselves — "maybe Minneapolis needs a tougher chief resilience officer" — and it was easy to conclude this must be just a make-work post for the sprinkling of feel-good nonsense around the city. In fact, with the right kind of leadership from the boss this could be a real job. So business leaders who get nothing out of this episode except a chuckle maybe haven't looked closely enough. Corporate CEOs might not ever have a chief resilience officer on their executive teams, but if they swapped out "resilience" for "risk" they might see some similarities between executives hired to look ahead and try to spot what can go wrong. And the CEOs have a similar challenge making their chief risk officers effective that new Mayor Jacob Frey has making the Minneapolis resilience officer job … [Read more...] about Chief resilience officer is lesson in risk management
Natural disaster risk management
One of the biggest stories last year was the rise in both the frequency and impact of digital and natural disasters. Cyber attacks like the WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware crippled organizations across the world. Hurricanes devastated the Caribbean, Florida and Texas. Wildfires burned in California, Washington and Oregon. And if predictions are right, it’s only going to get worse. Last year was one of the costliest for natural disasters ever. Hurricane Irma resulted in the closure of hundreds of Florida businesses, from amusement parks to cruises, and cost them $83 billion in property damage and lost revenue. Tropical Storm Harvey, which hamstrung Houston for weeks, could cost as much as $190 billion. Cyber attacks can be as disruptive and expensive as natural disasters. Some estimates predicted the cost of ransomware attacks in 2017 alone would exceed $5 billion. Cyber Threats vs. Natural Disasters The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently ranked the “Global Risks of … [Read more...] about Will Businesses Survive The Surge In Cyber Threats And Natural Disasters?
As lawmakers continue trying to pass a long-term spending bill — or yet another temporary stopgap measure — to avoid a government shutdown before Friday at midnight, many federal employees are watching negotiations closely, wondering about the short-term fate of their jobs. But some are also keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill talks with apprehension about how a shutdown might affect the Federal Emergency Management Agency as it comes off a year of natural disasters described as “historic on many levels” — and as FEMA-aided recovery continues in affected areas in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and California. Because FEMA is run by the Department of Homeland Security, which has in the past continued to receive funding during government shutdowns, former agency officials say it is common for lawmakers to brush off concerns a shutdown would adversely affect the agency’s operations. “The Republicans like to say [a shutdown is] not … [Read more...] about After a year of historic natural disasters, what would happen to FEMA if the government shuts down?
The recent spate of natural disasters that devastated parts of North America included a violent variety of events. There were three major hurricanes — Harvey, Irma and Maria — wildfires in Northern California, an earthquake in Mexico and tornadoes in Oklahoma. One thing these calamities had in common: They inflicted billions of dollars in property damage and adversely affected many small businesses. History portends that many of those operations won’t completely recover — ever. Almost 40 percent of small businesses don’t reopen after a disaster because the cost of recovery is so high, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. One of the major reasons is that the businesses didn’t have sufficient insurance. Many small business owners will face additional losses due to these disasters, some of which may not be as obvious as flood or wind-damage claims. While utilizing the commercial market for major lines of coverage – property, … [Read more...] about Insuring your small business in a natural disaster
DAKAR, Senegal — Sidi Tunis was on his way to work at Sierra Leone’s parliament in the capital of Freetown when he saw the first images of the mudslides. As more and more pictures lit his phone screen, Tunis, the country’s tourism minister, decided to take a detour through the capital’s windy, hilly streets to the disaster scene. When he arrived at Regent’s Hill, about 10 miles outside Freetown, he saw that a huge part of a hillside had clawed off, crushing hundreds to death as it slammed below.But something else about the scene struck him.“It was already packed with ambulances and fire trucks. Young people were already digging through the rubble,” Tunis told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview from Freetown. “During Ebola we had a lot of community engagement, so they knew how to be first responders. They knew how to do search and rescues, they knew how to convey corpses safely to the morgue.”Just three years ago, none of this would … [Read more...] about How Ebola Prepared Sierra Leone For A Massive Natural Disaster
Several people in Indiana's child welfare system — including Marion Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn Moores — told IndyStar the state is in the middle of a crisis, and "this system is drowning."The comments came amid virtual silence from Gov. Eric Holcomb's administration on several issues raised in a strongly worded letter of resignation from the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura, who submitted her resignation last week but remains in charge of the agency until Dec. 27, said cuts to DCS' funding and services are systematically putting children at risk. The director warned Holcomb that a continuation of his office's policies will "all but ensure children will die."On Monday, Holcomb told IndyStar he believes the state is taking "appropriate steps," including increasing DCS' budget by $450 million. But Bonaventura indicated DCS hasn't been able to spend all of the money it has been allocated.Meanwhile, … [Read more...] about ‘This is our natural disaster’: Advocates say Indiana’s child welfare system is drowning
President Trump’s remarks last week on Charlottesville did more than jolt the nation — they overshadowed his announcement at the same press conference of executive action on infrastructure that could cost taxpayers dearly . First, the promising news: Trump ’s executive order aims to streamline environmental reviews for federally funded projects, potentially cutting significant time and costs. As an official in the Obama administration I experienced first-hand the delays and additional costs of duplicative, drawn-out environmental review procedures, which were especially problematic during the New York region’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Housing and Urban Development and its sister agencies have since made great strides in cutting red tape and expediting federal reviews and approvals , but Trump is not wrong that more can and should be done. Trump’s order echoes recommendations in my recent report on disaster recovery for the Staten … [Read more...] about Trump’s big-dollar flood-zone disaster in the making
By Ross Kerber and Laila Kearney BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Longtime municipal finance maven Marilyn Cohen unloaded several million dollars worth of Houston-area utility bonds on Tuesday even though she did not see a high risk to the debt - because a few of her clients were getting nervous. The concerns were "not what you want to hear in muni-land," said Cohen, president of Envision Capital Management in California, who like other investors has been reviewing the storm's potential impact on payments from securities meant to be safe and boring. The sales were, however, just a small piece of her total Houston holdings, and so far prices in the space have not changed dramatically. "It's an orderly market," she said. Her views are common as municipal bond investors and analysts try to assess the overall damage to Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States. Television news has shown nonstop footage of flooded freeways, submerged homes and dramatic boat rescues. … [Read more...] about Muni prices stable amid Texas floods, but investors watch for risks
As people make the decision to flee or hunker down during a natural disaster, most thought goes to making sure they have their basic needs met. Of course, food, water, and shelter come first, but your planning should also include protecting your personal and financial documents.There are a number of ways to do this, and even those in the path of hurricanes can still take some steps to protect their most important paperwork. Ideally these moves would be made long before disaster strikes, but even as time dwindles, or even during a storm, there are things you can do.In the immediate aftermath of a storm, there are certain documents that will be immediately important. For example, you will want access to any insurance policies. In some cases that's as simple as checking your account online to make sure details are available there. In other cases, especially with less tech-friendly insurance companies, you will want physical copies.In that case, there are free apps for both Android and iOS … [Read more...] about Hurricane prep: How to keep your documents safe from a natural disaster
The latest tug-of-war on Capitol Hill is starting to become a disaster. The normally noncontroversial disaster aid funding is taking center stage as Congress tries to pass legislation to prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month. The Republican-led House narrowly passed legislation early Friday morning, which includes $3.7 billion in aid for Americans ravaged by Hurricane Irene, Texas wildfires, tornadoes and other natural disasters. The 219-203 passage came shortly after midnight and just two days after the bill was initially defeated by Democrats and defiant Tea Party Republicans. But the Democrat-controlled Senate rejected the bill around noon 59-36, insisting it doesn't include enough disaster assistance,. They're also furious that the legislation includes $1.5 billion in cuts to clean energy programs, which Dems argue create needed jobs. Republicans want to offset the disaster aid with spending cuts to avoid further financial turmoil. "They insist on … [Read more...] about Disaster aid funding battle between GOP and Democrats threatens to shut down government