Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. - Corporate Responsibility - Tony Kuczinski Calls for Upgrading Aging Infrastructure at NJ Planning Summit: ‘Investing for the New Normal’

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13 June 2013 | Reinsurance

Tony Kuczinski Calls for Upgrading Aging Infrastructure at NJ Planning Summit: ‘Investing for the New Normal’

Months after Superstorm Sandy devastated coastal communities in the Northeast United States and weeks before a massive and deadly tornado tore through the heartland of America’s Southwest, Munich Reinsurance America President and CEO Tony Kuczinski offered fresh perspective on the fiscal impact of increasingly severe weather at a daylong summit in New Jersey’s capitol city.

Kuczinski delivered the keynote address at PlanSmart NJ’s Second Annual Regional Planning Summit: Investing for the New Normal held April 30th in Trenton – the home to state government and located near Munich Reinsurance America's Princeton headquarters. Over 200 land use planners, engineers, attorneys, local officials, academic and nonprofit leaders attended the meeting, which featured panel discussions on community rebuilding and infrastructure investment. PlanSmart NJ is an independent nonprofit planning, education, and research organization.

The session convened a day after the State of New Jersey and the United States federal government announced the adoption of a Hurricane Sandy action plan governing $1.8 billion in federal disaster recovery spending.

In his remarks, Kuczinski noted that: “Severe weather destroys indiscriminately. It damages private property as well as the country’s infrastructure. Roads, bridges rail lines, telecommunications, utility lines and water supplies damaged by a severe weather event can take days, weeks or years to repair or replace. When a weakened, aging infrastructure faces increasingly severe weather, the infrastructure is more likely to fail. Our infrastructure was not built to withstand the changes we are seeing.”

He called for increased investment in the country’s infrastructure to correct current deficiencies, to prepare for more severe weather and to sustain the U.S. as a global leader. “It is clear that we as a country, and as a state, must upgrade our infrastructure to adapt to a changing environment. Building a sustainable future will take an enormous commitment by local, state and federal government and by the business community. When we come together to get a job done, nothing is impossible. We can’t become complacent, or let politics slow our resolve.”

Other prominent speakers at the summit included: Henk Ovink, regional planning and water infrastructure expert from the Netherlands and advisor to President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force; Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, Port Authority of NY/NJ; Deputy Executive Director Terrence Brody, NJ Governor’s Office of Recovery & Rebuilding; CEO Michele Brown, NJ Economic Development Authority; COO Ralph LaRossa, Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G); and Executive Director James Weinstein, NJ Transit.

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