RIMS 2016

The Battle for New Orleans: And 99 Other Cities

The 100 Resilient Cities initiative continues to grow in the U.S. and globally.
By: | April 11, 2016 • 2 min read

New Orleans went down once.

It cannot afford to go down again.

As one of 68 cities that is currently taking part in the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, the Big Easy appointed a Chief Resilience Officer and created a resiliency strategy.


The hope is that New Orleans, which is still at 85 percent of its pre-Katrina population, can forestall another disaster of that scale and avoid a crippling population loss.

The initiative, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in conjunction with global reinsurer Swiss Re, aims to bring a private sector concept, the chief risk officer, into the public sector, where fading infrastructure and limited budgets create a pressing need for holistic risk management.

Alex Kaplan, a North American sales leader, public sector business, for the Zurich-based reinsurer, said global private sector risk management knowledge can be brought to bear to make cities better at disaster recovery, and retain their lifeblood, the very citizens who pay their taxes.

“After a disaster what a city wants is not a check. They want their subway to work, they want their water system to work,” said Kaplan, who sat down with R&I at the RIMS Conference in San Diego on April 10.

In January, Swiss Re announced a partnership with Veolia, the venerable French-headquartered engineering and environmental firm with global reach.

With their combined strength, the reinsurer and the engineering firm aim to provide cities all over the globe with the engineering knowledge to strengthen their key assets, and the risk transfer muscle to speed recovery should those precious assets be damaged.

“Veolia is 160 years old,” Kaplan said.

“After a disaster what a city wants is not a check. They want their subway to work, they want their water system to work.” — Alex Kaplan, North American sales leader, public sector business, Swiss Re

“They focus entirely on infrastructure in the space of water, energy and waste. They can take over assets such as water plants and run them themselves or enter into a partnership with the city to help them optimize performance,” he added.

“Not only are they getting the best service, but they are also saving money simultaneously,” he said of the cities engaged in the initiative.

Additional key pieces for this resiliency equation are modeling and risk transfer.

Jamie Miller, a managing director of Swiss Re and its North America Property head, said the venerable Swiss insurer’s data bases and modeling capabilities can also be shared with public sector leaders to good effect.

“We are taking the modeling science and our risk appetite and some of our other ideas and coupling it with a societal need, whether it is climate change, pandemic or some other emerging risk,” Miller said.

Using state of the art analytics to measure the amount of passenger volume a particular subway route can hold, or the cost to a city of removing three inches of snow, gives public sector leaders a way to measure and mitigate or transfer risk that they didn’t have before, Miller said.

Over time, Swiss Re and other highly rated carriers will join together, to provide capital backstops to the public sector in a way that hasn’t been done before, he said.

“This is going to lead to greater syndication in the public space,” Miller said.

By the end of May, Kaplan said 100 Resilient Cities will announce the remaining 32 cities that will take part in the program.

Cities in the U.S. that are in more advanced stages of the program, which launched in 2013, include quake-exposed San Francisco, Norfolk, Va., and hurricane-exposed New Orleans.

The Rockefeller Foundation provides funding for the hiring of a chief resilience officer for a few years and the resources to build a resilience strategy.

But it’s not just physical damage that is the focus of many risk-focused civic leaders.

Societal problems such as affordable housing and egregious income inequality are also a focus, Kaplan said.


“Whereas we are thinking about hurricanes and earthquakes and tsunamis, they are thinking about aging infrastructure, social inequality, fragmented communities,” Kaplan said.

“So they are thinking about the social aspects as well, and I would say each city that has announced their strategy is paying homage to both,” Kaplan said.

“When a city is responding to a disaster the day the shock occurs, they have to quickly figure out what broke, who can fix it, how long it is going to take and where is the money coming from?”

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Report: Entertainment

On With the Show

Entertainment companies are attractive and vulnerable targets for cyber criminals.
By: | December 14, 2017 • 7 min read

Recent hacks on the likes of Sony, HBO and Netflix highlight the vulnerability entertainment companies have to cyber attack. The threat can take many forms, from the destruction or early release of stolen content to the sabotage of broadcast, production or streaming feeds.

Brian Taliaferro, entertainment and hospitality specialist, JLT Specialty USA

“Cyber attacks are becoming the biggest emerging threat for entertainment companies, bringing risk to reputations, bottom lines and the product itself,” said Brian Taliaferro, entertainment and hospitality specialist, JLT Specialty USA.

For most entertainment firms, intellectual property (IP) is the crown jewel that must be protected at all costs, though risk profiles vary by sub-sector. Maintaining an uninterrupted service may be the biggest single concern for live broadcasters and online streaming providers, for example.

In the case of Sony, North Korea was allegedly behind the leak of stolen private information in 2014 in response to a film casting leader Kim Jong Un in what it considered an unfavorable light.

This year, Netflix and HBO both faced pre-broadcast leaks of popular TV series, and Netflix last year also had its systems interrupted by a hack.


Online video game platforms are also ripe for attack, with Steam admitting that 77,000 of its gamer accounts are hacked every month.

The list goes on and will only get more extensive over time.

Regardless of the platform, any cyber attack that prevents companies from producing or distributing content as planned can have huge financial implications, particularly when it comes to major releases and marquee content, which can make or break a financial year.

“People and culture are the biggest challenges but also the keys to success.” — David Legassick, head of life science, technology and cyber, CNA Hardy

The bottom line, said David Legassick, head of life science, technology and cyber, CNA Hardy, is that these firms have a combination of both assets and business models that are inherently open to attack.

“Vulnerabilities exist at every point in the supply chain because it’s all tech-dependent,” he said, adding that projects often run on public schedules, allowing criminals to time their attacks to maximize impact.

“The combination of IP, revenue and reputation risk make entertainment a hot sector for cyber criminals.”

Touch Point Vulnerabilities

Film, TV, literary and music projects invariably involve numerous collaborators and third-party vendors at every stage, from development to distribution. This creates multiple touchpoints through which hackers could gain access to materials or systems.

According to Kyle Bryant, regional cyber manager, Europe, for Chubb, there is nothing unique about the type of attack media companies suffer — usually non-targeted ransomware attacks with a demand built in.

“However, once inside, the hackers often have a goldmine to exploit,” he said.

He added targeted attacks can be more damaging, however. Some sophisticated types of ransomware attack, for example, are tailored to detect certain file types to extract or destroy.

“NotPetya was designed to be non-recoverable. For a media company, it could be critical if intellectual property is destroyed.”


As entertainment companies have large consumer bases, they are also attractive targets for ideological attackers wishing to spread messages by hijacking websites and other media, he added.

They also have vast quantities of personal information on cast and crew, including celebrities, which may also have monetary value for hackers.

“It is essential to identify the most critical information assets and then put a value on them. After that, it is all about putting protection in place that matches the level of concern,” Bryant advised.

As with any cyber risk, humans are almost always the biggest point of vulnerability, so training staff to identify risks such as suspicious messages and phishing scams, as well as security and crisis response protocols, is essential. Sources also agree it is vital for entertainment companies to give responsibility for cyber security to a C-suite executive.

“People and culture are the biggest challenges but also the keys to success,” said Legassick.

“Managing the cyber threat is not a job that can just be left to the IT team. It must come from the top and pervade every aspect of how a company works.”

David Legassick, head of life science, technology and cyber, CNA Hardy

Joe DePaul, head of cyber, North America, Willis Towers Watson, suggested entertainment companies adopt a “holistic, integrated approach to cyber risk management,” which includes clearly defining processes and conducting background checks on the cyber security of any third party that touches the IP.

This includes establishing that the third parties understand the importance of the media they are handling and have appropriate physical and non-physical security at least equal to the IP owner in place. These requirements should also be written into contracts with vendors, he added.

“The touchpoints in creating content used to be much more open and collaborative, but following the events of the last few years, entertainment firms have rapidly introduced cyber and physical security to create a more secure environment,” said Ryan Griffin, cyber specialist, JLT Specialty USA.

“These companies are dealing with all the issues large data aggregators have dealt with for years. Some use secure third-party vendors, while others build their own infrastructure. Those who do business securely and avoid leaks can gain an advantage over their competitors.”

Quantification Elusive

If IP is leaked or destroyed, there is little that can be done to reverse the damage. Insurance can cushion the financial blow, though full recovery is very difficult to achieve in the entertainment space, as quantifying the financial impact is so speculative.

As Bill Boeck, insurance and claims counsel, Lockton, pointed out, there are only “a handful of underwriters in the world that would even consider writing this risk,” and sources agreed that even entertainment firms themselves struggle to put a monetary value on this type of exposure.

“The actual value of the IP taken isn’t generally going to be covered unless you have negotiated a bespoke policy,” said Boeck.

“If you’re in season five of a series with a track record and associated income stream, that is much easier, but putting a value on a new script, series or novel is difficult.”

Companies for whom live feeds or streaming are the primary source of revenue may find it easier to recoup losses. Determining the cost of a hack of that sort of service is a more easily quantifiable business interruption loss based on minutes, hours, ad dollars and subscription fees.


Brokers and insurers agree that while the cyber insurance market has not to date developed specific entertainment products, underwriters are open for negotiation when it comes to covering IP. The ball is therefore in the insured’s court to bring the most accurate projections to the table.

“Clients can get out of the insurance market what they bring to the equation. If you identify your concerns and what you want to get from insurance, the market will respond,” said Bryant.And according to Griffin, entertainment companies are working with their brokers to improve forecasts for the impact of interruptions and IP hacks and to proactively agree to terms with underwriters in advance.

However, Legassick noted that many entertainment firms still add cyber extensions to their standard property policies to cover non-physical damage business interruption, and many may not have the extent of coverage they need.

Crisis Response

Having a well-planned and practiced crisis response plan is critical to minimizing financial and reputational costs. This should involve the input of experienced, specialist third parties, as well as numerous internal departments.

Ryan Griffin, cyber specialist, JLT Specialty USA

“The more business operation leaders can get involved the better,” said Griffin.

Given the entertainment industry’s highly public nature, “it is critically important that the victim of a hack brings in a PR firm to communicate statements both outside and within the organization,” said Boeck, while DePaul added that given that most cyber attacks are not detected for 200-plus days, bringing in a forensic investigator to determine what happened is also essential.

Indeed, said Griffin, knowing who perpetrated the attack could help bring the event to a swifter and cheaper conclusion.

“Is it a nation state upset about the way it’s been portrayed or criminals after a quick buck? Understanding your enemy’s motivation is important in mitigating the damage.”

Some hackers, he noted, have in the past lived up to their word and released encryption keys to unlock stolen data if ransoms are paid. Inevitably, entertainment firms won’t always get so lucky.

Given the potentially catastrophic stakes, it is little surprise these firms are now waking up to the need for robust crisis plans and Fort Knox-level security for valuable projects going forward. &

Antony Ireland is a London-based financial journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]