Travelers Institute Hosts Fourth Annual Disaster Preparedness Symposium, “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season”

May 30, 2014

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TRV), will host its fourth annual “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season” symposium today at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. According to predictions from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a 70 percent likelihood of 8-13 named storms for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

Travelers is partnering with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) on this year’s symposium to highlight the importance of disaster preparation and resiliency for both businesses and individuals. According to the recently released Travelers Business Risk Index, nearly half (47 percent) of those surveyed stated their business does not have a formal continuity plan in place, putting those companies at risk in the event of a severe weather occurrence.

“Though last year was a relatively quiet hurricane season in the U.S., businesses and individuals should not become complacent,” said Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers. “Proactive disaster preparation can significantly help to mitigate the effects of and recover from a storm.”

Leaders from the private sector and academia will explore disaster preparedness tactics and resiliency ahead of the 2014 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, while sharing lessons learned from prior weather events.

This year’s panel discussion, moderated by Woodward, will include the following risk preparedness professionals:

  • Debra T. Ballen, General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Public Policy, IBHS
  • Stephen E. Flynn, Professor of Political Science; Director, Center for Resilience Studies; Co-Director, George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, Northeastern University
  • Scott Humphrey, Director of Technical Service, Risk Control, Travelers

“The evidence is clear that communities with disaster preparedness plans in place have a higher level of community resilience, which means lower disaster recovery costs overall, reduced government post-disaster aid and most importantly fewer lives lost,” Ballen said.

Ballen will discuss IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home - Hurricane program, which provides superior construction and retrofit standards for new and existing homes. These standards are designed to strengthen homes during severe high wind weather events and are recognized through financial incentives in several states. Ballen also will highlight IBHS’ new OFB (Open for Business)-EZ program, which provides a free, easy-to-use toolkit for small businesses to create their own business continuity plans.

Humphrey will describe Travelers’ new strategy guide for business continuity planning, ABC-GoSM to help businesses assess and reduce their vulnerabilities.

“The guide is applicable to companies of all sizes and industries,” he said. “ABC-Go provides a simple four-step process to help businesses develop an effective business continuity plan and formulate their own disaster preparedness strategies.”

Flynn, author of The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation and America the Vulnerable, will address how past storms teach lessons that are applicable on a national scale and can inform all communities in boosting their resilience to disasters.

The Travelers Institute launched “Kicking Off Hurricane Preparedness Season” in 2011 to help consumers and businesses better prepare for and respond to the risks associated with threatening storms. Please visit for more information on preparing for disaster.

About 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

About IBHS

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses, and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Visit for more information.

Travelers Institute
Luke Shane, 860-277-4090

Source: The Travelers Companies, Inc.