The Policy Incubator project of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center of the University of Pennsylvania (USA) has won Fundación MAPFRE’s Julio Castelo Matrán International Insurance Award, which comes with a prize worth 30,000 euros.

The Policy Incubator enables researchers in different disciplines to convert innovative ideas into real solutions that will help the most vulnerable communities to deal with the threats posed by natural disasters.

Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain will preside over the prize-giving ceremony for these international awards on June 14 in Madrid.

The Policy Incubator is a project of the Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the University of Pennsylvania (USA), established to help build resilience to natural disasters in at-risk communities.  Experts from different disciplines and sectors work together to develop innovative new policy ideas.

The initiative develops a groundbreaking model for converting ideas into action, and linking research with practice.  This type of work can be challenging when resources are typically inadequate for projects intended for the public good and targeting underprivileged communities.  The Policy Incubator was developed to help take visionary ideas and bring them into fruition.

The premise of the Policy Incubator lies in the fact that researchers frequently have difficulty in understanding the specific details of institutional contexts that allow for implementation of public policy designed to improve lives. Corporate incubators, which serve as the inspiration for the Policy Incubator, make use of more agile analytical support mechanisms that lend the required support to program evaluation processes, pilot preparation and execution.  In this sense, the project aims to identify mechanisms to enable public policy implementation of innovative ideas.

The project is now being applied to a range of areas related to insurance coverage and protection against natural disasters: closing the natural disaster insurance gap; linking risk reduction and risk transfer; improving flood insurance, promoting equitable resilience, and building coastal adaptation.

The resources gap across regions in the face of natural disasters

There is an undeniable relationship between the material costs of natural disasters and problems such as poverty, food security and economic development in the affected communities. The losses caused by extreme adverse events increase year after year, and studies indicate that more and more regions will be subject to this type of disruption, with marginalized communities being the most affected.  Many homes and communities are not adequately prepared for the effects of today’s risks, and even less so for those of tomorrow.

This insurance gap against natural disasters is palpable and present all over the world, including the United States, which underscores the need for more effective risk transfer tools and increased expenditure on preparation and protective measures on the part of homeowners, governments and the private sector.

The Fundación MAPFRE Awards, prizes of an international nature, recognize the efforts of institutions and individuals who contribute through their everyday efforts to improving the life of society in areas related to social commitment, research, health, accident preventions and insurance. The awards will be presented by Her Majesty Queen Sofía at a ceremony that will take place on June 14 at the Casino de Madrid (Calle Alcalá, 15).

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