Senior Research Fellow
Swenja is a Senior Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment|, part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), as well as a member of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP).
She is Programme Leader for the ‘climate risk, insurance and private sector’ work-stream at the institute, overseeing research projects from a multi-disciplinary field. Her research focuses on climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction with a special interest in the role of the private sector, particularly insurance and public-private partnerships as well as adaptation policy. Swenja is leading the institute’s research under the the EU’s FP7 ENHANCE project, currently conducting an analysis of the London Climate Change Partnership as well as investigating UK flood insurance developments. She was recently appointed lead author for the business and industry chapter of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment. Swenja is the lead academic for a World Bank project on the benefits of Disaster Risk Management (DRM), working with the Overseas Development Institute to explore how the co-benefits of DRM measures can strengthen the economic case for investment. She has published widely and works closely with industry and policy makers at a global level, in a developing country context, across the EU and within the UK. Prior to joining LSE in 2010 Swenja spent more than ten years in the insurance industry working on climate and risks management, including roles at Munich Re, Marsh Mc Lennon and the Association of British Insurers. Swenja was a Fulbright Scholar in the US, studying Environmental Economics and International Relations at the University of New Hampshire and received a PhD in Political Science from Hamburg University for her work on ‘Climate Change and the Insurance Industry’ in 2000.
From April 2007 until September 2010, Swenja worked for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) as Climate Change Adviser. Her key areas of work were climate impacts, mitigation policies, and the role of insurance in the climate change context.
Swenja coordinated the ABI’s response to the 2007 summer floods in the UK, led several industry research projects on climate change, and sat on various research steering groups, guiding the knowledge exchange between climate scientists and the insurance industry.
Swenja has been a member of the Management Committee of the industry’s ClimateWise initiative, of the European Insurance Industry Climate Change Taskforce (CEA) and of the London Climate Change Partnership Steering Group. She has been advising on climate change risks at UN, EU and UK level and is the author of several papers on these topics.
Prior to taking up her role at the ABI, Swenja was working in the Risk Management division of insurance broker Marsh McLennan and in the Geoscience Team at Munich Re.
Swenja was a Fulbright Scholar in the US, studying Environmental Economics and International Relations at the University of New Hampshire.
Swenja received a PhD in Political Science/Economics from Hamburg University for her work on ‘Climate Change and the Insurance Industry’ in 2000.
- Private sector adaptation
- The role of multi-national corporations in adaptation’
- The role of insurance in climate adaptation and mitigation
- Flood insurance in developed countries, emerging markets and the developing world;
- The benefits of disaster risk management