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Insurance Executive Speaking on Risks and Protection from Flooding

Lindene Patton, the chief climate product officer for Zurich Financial, the multinational insurance provider, will lead a multifaceted symposium at Old Dominion University on Monday, Feb. 20, including a public lecture for which her topic will be "Increased Flooding Risk, Adaptation and Insurance: Using Intelligent Tools to Maintain Quality of Community."

ODU's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI) and College of Business and Public Administration are sponsors of the event, which is a production of the university's Office of Community Engagement.

The lecture, which is free and open to everyone, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ted Constant Convocation Center Big Blue Room. (For more information about the event, see (http://www.odu.edu/ao/univevents/2012/patton_evite.shtml).

Patton, who is in demand as a speaker throughout the world, will discuss new imperatives facing insurance companies and their clients regarding climate issues. Zurich Financial has developed a climate initiative and also takes guidance from a climate change advisory council. The council is charged with assessing the insurer's vulnerabilities to climate change-related occurrences such as sea level rise and patterns of unusually destructive storms and droughts.

The lecture will be of special interest to anyone who owns property or a business in a sea coast community, or otherwise is concerned about financial risks that could come with climate change and sea level rise.

In public appearances in the past few years on behalf of Zurich Financial, Patton has explained her company's efforts to manage its climate risks effectively, and to help its customers be more prepared for climate change. A central focus of these efforts is the design of insurance products that will promote adaptation to climate change and mitigation of damages from it.

Patton is a licensed attorney and also holds a master's degree in public health. She serves on numerous advisory boards, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Financial Advisory Board.

This symposium with its public lecture is the second such event to be presented by ODU's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative. At the formal launch of the initiative in December 2010, Rear Adm. David Titley, oceanographer of the U.S. Navy and commander of Navy Task Force Climate Change, spoke to an audience of about 500 at the Constant Center.

"The presentation by Adm. Titley was well received by our faculty and students, as well as by the many members of the public who attended his lecture," said Larry Atkinson, the ODU Slover Professor of Oceanography, who directs the initiative. "We think the insurance discussion that Ms. Patton will lead will be equally as enlightening."

The Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative was started at the direction of ODU President John R. Broderick to apply university resources to challenges predicted to come from sea level rise in urban coastal environments such as Hampton Roads.

Karen Meier, who heads ODU's Office of Community Engagement, said the work of CCSLRI and the public lectures are supported in part by the Perry Fund for the study of critical issues, an initiative funded by Doug and Patricia Perry, the benefactors whose name is associated with the university's Perry Library.

"Thanks to the Perrys, we will be able to pull together the university and region's foremost experts to help identify the multifaceted impact of climate change and rising sea levels on our region," Meier said.

The CCSLRI website is at http://www.odu.edu/ao/research/ccslri/. More information about Patton's visit is available from Atkinson at latkinso@odu.edu and Michael McShane, assistant professor of finance and an expert in property-casualty insurance and risk management, at mmcshane@odu.edu.

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