NFTE

WSI Assurant Stronger Communities Challenge, SDG 11WSI

Design a product, service or initiative to promote preparedness and improve resilience so communities can overcome challenges caused by natural disasters or catastrophic events and recover more quickly.

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Is life riskier today than it was in the past? Probably not. Many risks of everyday life have been dramatically reduced over centuries. But worldwide, communities are experiencing increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. We're also at risk from new types of social, environmental and technological disasters. Think beyond natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and landslides to major power outages, oil spills, industrial accidents, and the effects of sea-level rise. All can wreak havoc on families and communities.

The economic costs of disasters are rising rapidly, and modern families may experience a wide range of physical, social and financial stresses as a result of disasters. Developing resilience by being prepared to withstand or adapt to challenging circumstances when disasters occur improves the ability to recover from adversity.

What is necessary for survival in the wake of disasters? Basic survival needs must be met immediately: food, water, shelter, sanitation, medical assistance, communications, and transportation, both to ensure access for aid workers and to allow survivors mobility. Those who survive a disaster also need to be prepared for its aftereffects. Some may be stranded with no way to get home or left homeless. Some may have suffered long-lasting injury, trauma or illness.

Being able to withstand and adapt in the face of disaster requires that individuals and communities find ways to strengthen social connectedness, improve infrastructure and systems, grow sustainably, and help members be prepared.

Your challenge is to consider the types of actions that cities and governments take to prepare for or respond to disasters—and then to think in terms of yourself, your family and your neighbors. How can people increase their personal preparedness and resilience or their community’s preparedness and resilience?

Thought-starters:

  • Disasters are unpredictable. That is why experts suggest the best way to protect your family from disaster threats is to reduce risk through planning and preparation. But what does that mean in practical terms? What kinds of things can an individual or a family do to be better prepared to face a disaster?
  • Can technology help? Widespread smartphone adoption opens up a world of possibilities. So do advances in drone technology, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Meeting immediate survival needs is critical, but what happens next? How can individuals in impacted communities come together in the rebuilding and recovery process after a natural disaster or a social, environmental or technological disaster?

Your big idea might be an innovative technology product or service to help those affected by a disaster—or it might be another type of solution entirely, such as a community initiative.

Assurant

Assurant is a leading global provider of housing and lifestyle solutions that support, protect and connect major consumer purchases. Anticipating the evolving needs of consumers, Assurant partners with the world’s leading brands to develop innovative products and services and to deliver an enhanced customer experience. A Fortune 500 company with a presence in 21 countries, Assurant offers mobile device solutions; extended service contracts; vehicle protection services; pre-funded funeral insurance; renters insurance and lender-placed homeowners insurance. The Assurant Foundation strengthens communities by supporting charitable partners that help protect where people live and can thrive, connect with local resources, inspire inclusion and prepare leaders of the future.

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"At Assurant, we're passionate about innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset. The only way the world will meet the UN Global Goals is with innovative ideas from enterprising minds."

Alan B. Colberg / President and CEO, Assurant, Inc.

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