Swenja Surminski

Senior Research Fellow

Swenja Surminski is a Senior Research Fellow with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Her research interests include climate adaptation and disaster risk management, with a specific focus on the role of the private sector, public-private partnerships and the insurance industry.

Swenja's current research projects are around public-private partnerships for managing natural disaster risks in Europe (as part of the EU’s FP7 ENHANCE project|); UK flood insurance; the costs and benefits of climate change in Russia; loss and Damage as a new UNFCCC concept; and the role of the private sector in climate adaptation.

Background

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.

Research programmes

Co-topic lead of 'Private and autonomous adaptation|'

Research interests

  • Linking adaptation and disaster risk reduction;
  • The role of insurance in climate adaptation and mitigation;
  • The economics of natural disasters.  

Media articles

2012

Climate change in India: What role for insurance and the private sector?
|Susannah Fisher and Swenja Surminski, India at LSE (blog), 18 July

Extreme measures
|Swenja Surminski, Post (magazine; subscription is required)

Policy articles

2014

Mechler, R., Bouwer, L.M., Linnerooth-Bayer, J., Hochrainer-Stigler, S., Aerts, J.C.J.H., Surminski, S., Williges, K. 2014. Managing unnatural disaster risk from climate extremes, Nature Climate Change 4, pp235-237.

2013

Surminski, S., Crick, F., Eldridge, J., and Ward, B. August 2013. Securing the future availability and affordability of home insurance in areas of flood risk. Policy paper, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & Environment, London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (195KB)

Surminski, S., and Crick, F., July 2013. Response to European Commission's green paper on the insurance of natural and man-made. Policy paper, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & Environment, London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (564KB)

Ranger, N., and Surminski, S. April 2013. Disaster resilience and post-2015 development goals: the options for economics targets and indicators. Policy paper, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & Environment, London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (1.46MB)

Fankhauser, S., Ranger, N., Colmer, J., Fisher, S., Surminski, S., Stainforth, D., and Williamson, A. March 2013. An Independent National Adaptation Programme for England. Policy brief, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change & Environment, London, UK.  External link to full report| (PDF, 624KB) | Appendices| (PDF, 700KB)

Older

2012

 

Surminski, S. June 2012. Climate change and extreme weather events in developing countries. Future Risk: climate change and energy security – global challenges and implications, Chartered Insurance Institute, Centenary Future Risk Series: Report 3. External link to full report|

 

Surminski, S. June 2012. Les apports du « SREX » à l’assurance, in La Lettre d’information de la Mission risques naturels Numéro special – Juin 2012 – N° 19. External link to full report|

 

Surminski, S., Lopez, A., Birkmann, J., and Welle, T. May 2012. Current knowledge on relevant methodologies and data requirements as well as lessons learned and gaps identified at different levels, in assessing the risk of loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change. UNFCCC Technical Report. External link to full report|

 

2011

 

Surminski, S., and Oramas-Dorta, D. Building effective and sustainable risk transfer initiatives in low- and middle-income economies: what can we learn from existing insurance schemes? Policy paper, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Leeds and London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (791KB)

 

Ranger, N., Surminski, S., and Silver, N. Open questions about how to address 'loss and damage' from climate change in the most vulnerable countries: a response to the Cancún Adaptation Framework. Policy paper, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Leeds and London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (576KB)

 

2009

 

Warner, K., Ranger, N., Surminski, S., Arnold, M., Linnerooth-Bayer, J., Michel-Kerjan, E., Kovacs, P., and Herweijer, C. June 2009. Adaptation to climate change: linking disaster risk reduction and insurance. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. External link to full report| 

Research articles

2014

Surminski, S., and Eldridge, J. January 2014. Flood insurance in England - an assessment of the current and newly proposed insurance scheme in the context of rising flood risk. Working paper, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Leeds and London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (583KB)

2013

Surminski, S., and Eldridge, J. December 2013. Observations on the role of the private sector in the UNFCCC's loss and damage of climate change work programme. Working paper, Grantham Research Institute, London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (450KB)

Surminski, S., and Oramas-Dorta, D. In press. Flood insurance schemes and climate adaptation in developing countries. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. External link to full article|

Surminski, S. October 2013. Private-sector adaptation to climate risk. Nature Climate Change, v.3, pp.943-945. External link to full article|

Surminski, S., and Oramas-Dorta, D. July 2013. Do flood insurance schemes in developing countries provide incentives to reduce physical risks? Working paper, Grantham Research Institute, London, UK. Download PDF of paper| (433KB)

Ranger, N., and Surminski, S. March 2013. A preliminary assessment of the impact of climate change on non-life insurance demand in the BRICS economies. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, v.3, pp.14-30. External link to full article|

Older

2012

 

Fisher, S., and Surminski, S. September 2012. The roles of public and private actors in the governance of adaptation: the case of agricultural insurance in India. Working paper, Grantham Research Institute, London, UK. Download PDF of paper|

 

Surminski, S., and Williamson, A. September 2012. Policy indexes – what do they tell us and what are their applications? The case of climate policy and business planning in emerging markets. Working paper, Grantham Research Institute, London, UK. Download PDF of paper|

 

2011

 

Surminski, S., and Oramas-Dorta, D. Building effective and sustainable risk transfer initiatives in low- and middle-income economies: what can we learn from existing insurance schemes? Policy paper, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Leeds and London, UK. Download PDF of paper|

 

Ranger, N., and Surminski, S. September 2011. A preliminary assessment of the impact of climate change on non-life insurance demand in the BRICS economies. Working paper, Grantham Research Institute, London, UK. Download PDF of paper| 

Contact details

  • Email
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7107 5429 
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