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Business Leaders Call for Disaster Risk Disclosure

Speakers at UN summit emphasize benefits for investors

Business and finance leaders are calling on companies to bolster their disclosures to regulators and investors by including natural disaster risk.

The call was made at a United Nations summit hosted by the International Insurance Society, to integrate business and finance with the new global framework on disaster risk reduction, which will be adopted at a UN World Conference next March.

Read: Natural and Man-Made Disasters Cost Insurance Industry $44B in 2013

Dominic Casserley of Willis Group, which organized the summit, said, “Disaster risk is playing a greater part in human life than ever before,” he said, “and it is driven by demographics, economic development and climate change. Increasingly violent and frequent weather events are affecting communities and businesses, particularly in urban areas with ever more dense populations.”

He added that disclosing such risks was also important for the market. “Investors want access to meaningful information that allows them to make informed judgments about a business. Yet some of today’s most important risks are completely absent from their mindsets. Better disclosure of the real risks that businesses face will lead to improved valuations and pricing for capital, with the better returns that implies.”

Read: Asia-Pacific Region Must Focus on Disaster Preparedness

Prince Charles, long an advocate for environmental causes, also spoke at the summit, backing the need for concrete private sector commitments to disaster risk reduction.

Elizabeth Longworth, director of the UN Office for Disaster Reduction, told delegates, “This meeting today will help to ensure the integration of the business sector and financial system into the priorities for action contained in the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction.”

Longworth, Madelyn Antoncic, Treasurer of the World Bank and Mike Morrissey, President and CEO of the IIS, were among those who also added their support to the UN’s agenda.

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