Travelers Institute Hosts Third Annual “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season” Symposium amid NOAA’s Predictions for an Active Hurricane Season

May 31, 2013

Convenes NYSE Euronext, Wharton Experts and the Partnership for New York City to Discuss Disaster Preparedness on the Eve of Hurricane Season

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today, the Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), convened industry experts and attendees at the New York Stock Exchange for the third annual “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season” symposium to highlight lessons learned from Storm Sandy and to offer preparedness tips for mitigating risk.

The event highlighted how the City of New York and NYSE Euronext moved quickly to restore services after Storm Sandy and analyzed the key lessons learned ahead of the 2013 hurricane season, which officially starts on June 1. Recently, experts at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes in 2013.

The symposium featured:

  • Keynote remarks:Seth Pinsky, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, who also leads Mayor Bloomberg's Special Initiative for Rebuilding & Resiliency.
  • Moderator:Joan Woodward, Travelers’ Executive Vice President of Public Policy and President of the Travelers Institute.
  • Panel discussion: entitled, “Lessons Learned from Storm Sandy – Preparedness, Response and Recovery.” Panelists included:
    • Howard Kunreuther, Professor of Decision Sciences and Business and Public Policy at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Co-Director of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center
    • Joe Mecane, Executive Vice President and Head of Cash Execution, NYSE Euronext
    • Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services
    • Jim McConnell, Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Data, NYC Office of Emergency Management

“By convening experts from the public and private sectors, we elevated the importance of disaster preparedness and strong business continuity plans,” said Woodward. “Representatives from the NYSE Euronext and the City of New York shared valuable insights on how they were able to respond so efficiently to the challenges brought on by Storm Sandy. We applaud these organizations and Mayor Bloomberg on their tremendous response and rehabilitation efforts, which can serve as a model for others.”

At the event, Woodward also announced Travelers’ new consumer insurance education program, the Insurance Knowledge Center, to help consumers more easily understand their insurance policies, while protecting their families, businesses and property.

“Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, New York City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding & Resiliency is creating a report that will address the challenges of rebuilding local communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy, as well as improving critical citywide systems and infrastructure in order to make the City more resilient in the face of long-term climate change,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “I want to thank the Travelers Institute for hosting today’s symposium, which is contributing to the important national conversation surrounding both emergency preparedness and sustainability.”

Local Leaders Share Their Insight

“With Hurricane Sandy, our first priority was the safety of people while working in close coordination with government authorities, our regulators and customers, and other market participants,” said Joe Mecane, Executive Vice President and Head of Cash Execution, NYSE Euronext. “We take a serious and comprehensive approach to disaster planning, and the contingencies we have in place are intended to ensure the integrity of our operations and our national markets. Given the conditions around us, the fact that we were able to re-open the NYSE just two ways after the storm speaks well of our plan and people. And while we effectively executed our disaster plan, this experience enabled us to further improve our contingency plans toward minimizing the impact of future events.”

Kathy Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City commented, “Preparing for disaster is a critical issue to which businesses pay great attention, but many new lessons were learned as a result of Storm Sandy and businesses of all sizes are recommitting to continuity planning and disaster mitigation.”

“The City has been working hard to help small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy get back on their feet, but there is still more to do,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “As we continue to help small businesses recover from Sandy, we also have to look ahead and help small businesses prepare for future disasters, and I thank Travelers Institute for contributing to this conversation.”

“Gathering and analyzing research from hurricanes and flood insurance will help us better prepare and respond to natural disasters,” noted Wharton School Prof. Howard Kunreuther. “Information from this event will help businesses and citizens reduce costs from damages of future storms.”

For more information to help consumers and businesses prepare for the unknown, visit the Travelers’ Prepare & Prevent website. To learn more about the Travelers Institute, visit

About the Travelers Institute

The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and the financial services industry more broadly. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers' senior management and the technical expertise of many of Travelers' underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information, analysis, and solutions to public policy makers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home and business. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Ashley Maagero, 860-277-2954

Source: Travelers