Flooded road and bridge in South Carolina, with water rising to the roof of a motel.
Hurricane flooding Flooding in Mullins, S.C., after Hurricane Florence. © South Carolina National Guard

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Rising Cost of Rising Water Webinar Series

South Carolina

Our waters are rising, and we’re paying the price.

Every year from 2015 to 2019, heavy rain events and coastal storms decimated South Carolina homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. Storm surge pushed salt into our drinking water. Drowned treatment plants spilled raw sewage into our rivers. South Carolinians were forced out of their homes ahead of swollen rivers spilling over their banks.

We can’t continue business as usual. In the face of higher tides, more intense rain events and flooding, as well as a changing climate, we must reduce risks and strengthen our communities. We can tackle this challenge. We can become more resilient and build a more prosperous future.

This three-part webinar series offers a range of perspectives on the rising cost of rising water and solutions to help our homes and businesses. Upcoming topics include how the insurance industry is adapting and how communities are investing in natural defenses. Join us for one, two or all three parts!

Register for upcoming webinars at the links listed under each event below. You must register to attend — information on how to join the webinar via Zoom will be provided upon registering.

You can also watch previous webinar recordings at the links listed on the next tab.

We hope to see you online soon!

Part 1: Can South Carolina Afford the Next Storm?

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020  |  11 a.m. – noon

The cost of natural disasters is increasing dramatically. How will South Carolina pay for a future of more frequent, intense flooding and storms? Featured panelists included Kim Stenson, director of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, and Pamela Williams, executive director of BuildStrong Coalition. Moderated by Gavin Jackson, public affairs reporter for South Carolina ETV, with a special welcome from Dale Threatt-Taylor, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina.

Missed it, or want to listen again? Watch the video below!

This first webisode drew 80+ attendees from the insurance, engineering, real estate and financial sectors.

The Rising Cost of Rising Water Listen to our panelists discuss the future of South Carolina in preparation for increasingly intense natural disasters.


“Don’t build in vulnerable areas … If we continue to build in floodplains and places that are probably going to be impacted by disasters, then we’re going to continue to have problems… We’ve got to change the culture [and] there’s a lot of different issues involved with that.”
Kim Stenson, Director, SC Emergency Management Division

“Unlike repairing something that has been impacted by a disaster, if we make it stronger, we’re avoiding future damage. That’s huge. That’s a smart investment, so we need to be driving federal investments in ways that are cost effective and risk reducing.”
Pamela Williams, Executive Director, BuildStrong Coalition

Part 2: Can Insurance Keep Up?

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020   |    2 – 3 p.m.

From hurricanes to megafires, the rising cost of natural disasters is all over the news. Can insurance keep up, without bankrupting their rate payers or themselves?

Featured panelists included Ray Farmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance; Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America; and Raghuveer Vinukollu, senior vice president and natural catastrophe solutions lead for Munich Re. Gavin Jackson, public affairs reporter for SC – ETV, returned as event moderator.

Missed it, or want to listen again? Watch the video below!

Attendees from across South Carolina logged on, representing the insurance, engineering, and finance sectors along with federal legislative staff, state and local leaders, state agencies, and emergency management professionals.

The Rising Cost of Rising Water: Part 2 Our panelists discuss the role of insurance in preparing for and responding to natural disasters.


“If it rains at your house […] it could flood.” 
—Director Ray Farmer, SC Department of Insurance

“[There] needs to be a paradigm shift, if you will, in thinking and exploration of the way to solve the problem of climate change in the context of providing financial resources to communities, governmental entities, as well as individuals.”
—Mr. Frank Nutter, President, Reinsurance Association of America

“We also need to think about nature-based solutions. That’s very important. Natural infrastructure is a way to reduce losses. There is a study by The Nature Conservancy and others saying that for Superstorm Sandy the amount of protection the coastal wetlands provided amounted to almost $625 million.” 
Dr. Raghuveer Vinukollu, Senior Vice President and Natural Catastrophe Solutions Lead, Munich Re

Insurers are beginning to change their approach… [The National Association of Insurance Commissioners] has established a special committee on climate and resiliency… They’ll be looking at insurers’ use of modeling: how insurers and reinsurers use modeling, how rating agencies incorporate climate risk into their analysis of governments and how strong a company is. They’ll also have an investigation in development of climate-related stress testing and scenario modeling. What is the worst-case scenario? Can your company withstand such a thing?”
—Director Ray Farmer, SC Department of Insurance

Part 3: Investing in Solutions

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020   |    11 a.m. – Noon

For the final webisode in our three-part series examining the rising cost of rising water, we're excited to announce that U.S. Congressman Tom Rice will offer opening comments on how this issue is touching down in the Seventh District of South Carolina. Our panel will feature community leaders and experts on investing in solutions for a more resilient future.

Opening comments:
U.S. Congressman Tom Rice, SC - 7

Featured panelists:
Adam Emrick, City Administrator, City of Conway, SC
Col. (Ret.) Frank McClary, Mayor, Town of Andrews, SC
Fred Malik, Managing Director of Fortified Products, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

Gavin Jackson, public affairs reporter for South Carolina ETV

9/9/20: New proposal from SC State House would create South Carolina Office of Resilience, advisory board and chief resiliency officer. Read about it in The State newspaper: https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article245568385.html