Catastrophe Bonds, Communication & Connections


Photo by Jed Wolf

During my internship at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), my work focused on climate adaptation finance. I was (/am) pondering the question of how to link capital markets with regional climate adaptation. During my research, I came across something known as catastrophe bonds, which were developed after Hurricane Andrew in the early ’90s and link capital markets with the insurance industry by allowing capital markets to invest in tail end disaster risk (unlikely but potentially detrimental occurrences) of specific regions. One of the most influential players in creating catastrophe bonds is a man named Richard Sandor.

I did a bit of research on Dr Sandor and found out that he was attributed with being the father of financial futures, was influential in developing the Chicago Carbon Exchange, is a financial innovator dedicated to linking financial markets and the environment, and is associated with a number of prestigious institutions including Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia, and TERI. When I saw this, I was very excited that he was actively interested in what I have been working on and was associated with the institute in which I was working at. I went to the Director General of TERI, Dr. Pachauri, and asked him if he could connect me with Dr. Sandor. Pachauri told me that if I stayed for the February Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) he would introduce me. After a few days, I realized that TERI assigns facilitators to speakers at the summit to take care of anything that the speakers needs while in Delhi. I requested to be Dr. Sandor’s facilitator. At the summit, I was able to discuss my work with Dr. Sandor who then offered to help me with my thesis when I was ready.

I see this as an example of how doing research, utilizing information gained, and then applying social and oral communication can create opportunities in the world. My time at Bard CEP and at TERI helped me to bridge these gaps and make connections.

About Jed Wolf