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Insurers and academics join forces to combat climate change

24 September 2021
The Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) of VU Amsterdam and the Alliance of Dutch Insurers signed a partnership agreement this week to work together on combatting climate change and its effects.

The aim of the partnership is to shift the focus of climate-change research towards preventing as much climate damage as possible. Pieter van Beukering (director of the Institute for Environmental Studies), Wouter Botzen (professor of the economics of climate change and natural disasters) and Jeroen Aerts (professor of water and climate risk) attended the signing ceremony on behalf of VU Amsterdam.  

Better reflection of everyday practice
‘This partnership will enable the Institute for Environmental Studies to align its teaching and research on climate risks more with professional practice,’ says Van Beukering. ‘That will help us to increase the societal impact of that research, which is consistent with the mission of VU Amsterdam’s Science for Sustainability profile theme.’ Botzen continues: ‘As an interdisciplinary research institute, the Institute for Environmental Studies works on various research projects focusing on changes in extreme weather due to climate change, the impact for the financial sector and its customers, and solutions to help limit that impact. Joining forces with insurers is a logical step in continuing to strengthen our expertise in this area of research.’ 

Ever more damage caused by extreme weather
The Alliance of Dutch Insurers wants to use this project to ‘invest specifically in studies that can actually make a difference to combating climate change, preventing climate-related damage and dealing with it rapidly,’ says Richard Weurding, the general director of the Alliance of Dutch Insurers. We are already seeing more damage in the Netherlands caused by more extreme weather as a result of climate change. ‘For example, storms over the Atlantic Ocean have shifted about 200 kilometres to the north over the past 60 years.’

Joint research agenda
To understand the specific research needs of insurers better, and how researchers can respond to these, the Alliance of Dutch Insurers will host a round table event with insurers in September to decide on a joint research agenda for the years to come. Scientists from VU Amsterdam will also attend the meeting.

Image: Alliance of Dutch Insurers. Pieter van Beukering (left) and Richard Weurding (right).