Talking about responses to coastal flooding is easy; paying for responses to coastal flooding is not. That’s been major challenge for several years now as Virginia deals with the consequences of recurrent flooding due to a combination of factors including land subsidence, rising waters and increased precipitation.
Never averse to stepping in to help provide solutions, the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) at William & Mary Law School held a Resilience Funding Forum on Friday, May 3. The day-long event, sponsored by Transatlantic Reinsurance Co., Inc., brought together experts from business, law, education, government and the public and private sectors to discuss innovative options for coastal localities.
“Effective and innovative solutions are going to require expertise and multiple means of knowledge,” said William & Mary President Katherine Rowe as she welcomed what she termed a “very rich brain trust” of partners. She then charged the coalition with being “level-headed and fearless” as they approach the challenge of sea level rise and coastal stability.
Elizabeth Andrews, Director of the VCPC, noted that localities are in the cross-hairs. “You’re the ones on the front lines,” she told attendees as she praised the lineup of guest speakers and panelists. “We really appreciate their sharing what they’ve learned thru their jobs, their life experiences about flooding – how to deal with it, how to be resilient.”
Among the experts in the morning sessions were: Ann C. Phillips, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Virginia Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, who provided opening comments; Michael C. Sapnar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transatlantic Holdings Inc. and Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, Inc.; Samantha Medlock, CFM, Senior Vice President & Head of North America Capital, Science & Policy, Willis Towers Watson; and Donald T. Hornstein, Aubrey L. Brooks Professor of Law, UNC School of Law.
Afternoon sessions included a talk about parametric insurance by Evan Glassman, CEO of New Paradigm; a look at Federal disaster funds, municipal bonding and funding match by Dawn Zimmer, the former Mayor of Hoboken, N.J. during Hurricane Sandy; and a discussion of environmental impact bonds by Gauri Gadgil of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
A panel discussion with Glassman, Zimmer and Gadgil followed, with David Johnston, CEO, Hamilton Advisors LLC, serving as moderator. Dr. Andy Keeler, Program Head, Public Policy & Coastal Sustainability at UNC and Professor, Department of Economics at East Carolina University, wrapped things up with a look at long-term considerations, finance and discontinuous responses and approaches to relocation.
To watch videos from the event and access PDFs of presentations, please visit our Resilience Funding Forum page.
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.