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Many of us across the risk management industry actively help communities in need after natural disasters, through donations, working with organizations to promote resilience, or through on-the-ground assistance. Our intimate understanding of the power of these catastrophes makes us acutely aware of the need to act.

This is true for everyone here at RMS, where our values embrace the need to understand risk, build resiliency, and make an impact to help improve the lives of communities who live with the threat of natural disasters. One of the ways we live our values is through our annual RMS Impact Trek, where both RMS employees and our clients work with the social enterprise Build Change in some of the world’s most catastrophe-prone areas.

If you are an RMS client, I would like to extend an invitation to our annual RMS Impact Trek. This is the fourth year that we are sponsoring representatives from our clients to join RMS employees and Build Change so that their skills can be used to build stronger communities.

Nepal

RMS and Build Change staff advise on house retrofitting on a previous RMS Impact Trek in Nepal

Focus on the Philippines

Our focus for 2019 turns to the Philippines. Build Change has been active in the country since 2013, working on a range of long-term projects from helping to rebuild schools, pre-disaster retrofitting of homes in poorer areas of Manila, through to training technicians in disaster-resistant construction skills in Guiuan in southeast Samar.

The country is exposed to some of the most intense typhoons on the planet, as well as damaging earthquakes. Typhoon Haiyan tore across the Visayas Islands in 2013, killing over 6,000, with 1.14 million structures totally or partially damaged. And this year, Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall as a category 5-equivalent super typhoon on the island of Luzon in the northeast of the country, as it swept westward towards Hong Kong and China. 127 people were killed in the Philippines from Mangkhut.

Rebuilding takes time and resources, both of which can be in short supply, and with the ever-present threat of another typhoon season, communities in the Philippines want to see a step change where the built environment can withstand the worst of a storm.

By contributing our considerable combined knowledge and extensive skills, we can to help these communities build a brighter future with stronger homes and schools. In doing so, we will also get valuable hands-on experience reducing risk while helping to train new leaders in new markets.

RMS will select a handful of client representatives to join us on the RMS Impact Trek, which includes all flights from your location to the Philippines, and all other expenses. The trek will take place between March 17 to March 25, 2019.

While working with Build Change and RMS employees, clients joining us on the Impact Trek will be able to assist Build Change with its operational needs as well as get the opportunity to travel in the field experiencing how to make safer housing and schooling a reality in catastrophe-vulnerable areas.

If you want to get involved, we have created a web page with all the information you will need, including details on an information session to learn more about the trip, FAQs, videos of past treks and the application for this year’s trip.

You only have until the end of this week to apply – applications are due by Friday, December 14, 2018.

Clients will be anonymously evaluated based on a blind mutual selection process between Build Change and past Impact Trekkers. Selection will be based on an individual’s demonstrated effort for creating a positive impact in their communities and Build Change’s organizational needs.

We hope that you will consider joining us to further our shared goal of creating a more resilient global society.

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March 07, 2018
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Being prepared for, and recovering quickly from, any catastrophe is one hallmark of ensuring a more safe and resilient society. But in many catastrophe-prone communities around the globe, insurance penetration rates remain stiflingly low and, as a result, building codes are either non-existent, or inconsistently enforced. In Nepal for example, almost 90 percent of the population is without insurance, and both mitigation and recovery efforts after their devastating earthquake in April 2015 are still scaling slowly. Social enterprises such as Build Change, who work on the ground in countries like Nepal, Columbia, and Haiti, are engaging with various stakeholders across governments, NGOs and even individual homeowners to institute building codes and train local construction sectors in attainable and safe building practices. RMS is proud to partner with Build Change by providing grants to jump start and enhance its country programs and allowing the organization to use our products for free in order to better quantify the risk landscape of the countries in which they operate. It is an exciting time as RMS also partners with Build Change for our annual Impact Trek. This is our fourth annual trek, the first saw our team in Haiti, and for the past two years we have sent teams to Nepal. The video below shows the Impact Trek team in Nepal during 2016. We return to Nepal this year; both RMS employees and our clients representing major insurance and reinsurance firms will be flying out to Kathmandu on March 17 for a 10-day trek in Nepal, working alongside Build Change to bridge the gap in coverage by building resilience in communities that are most vulnerable to catastrophe. A team of eight Impact Trekkers will share their expertise with local stakeholders, working to bring greater efficiency to reconstruction practices, and help to ensure that standards for “building back better” are effective and scalable. One Impact Trekker was so inspired by the work that Build Change was doing in Nepal, that he has now gone on to take a four-month sabbatical in the country. Alastair Norris has blogged about his experiences, working on several projects to help Build Change in their efforts to scale reconstruction, and exploring this dynamic country. The RMS Impact Trek shows what is possible when the private sector and public partners come together to create shared value for vulnerable communities by exploring solutions to bring synergies and resilience capacity-building to the forefront of our market. RMS remains focused on creating tools to help ensure that those who are struck by catastrophe can recover quickly and completely, as we help the market better measure and understand their risk both pre and post event. From previous Impact Treks, we know that the experience will inspire our trekkers to think about new solutions, explore new potential partnerships and spread the word about the on the ground realities of rebuilding after a disaster. …

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Rebecca Biestman
Rebecca Biestman
Global Head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility

Rebecca Biestman is head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at RMS. In her capacity as head of CSR, Rebecca oversees all corporate sustainability measures, employee engagement events, philanthropic partnerships as well as pro bono projects for RMS. Prior to her role at RMS, Rebecca worked in brand marketing and community relations for Earth Essentials, Gap, Inc., and the Gap Foundation. Rebecca received both her BA and her MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

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