The Global Risk and Resilience Fellowship (GRRF)

A unique fellowship program that connects insurance professionals with city senior leadership to develop resilience-building risk transfer solutions

The Challenge

Across the globe, climate change is having a huge impact on the lives of millions of people. Cities are home to half of the world’s population and they are incredibly vulnerable to climate change. High temperatures, sea level rises and extreme weather are all felt acutely in urban areas. In the face of mounting shocks and stresses, cities face the enormous and urgent task of adapting to a more volatile world.

The insurance industry has a huge role to play in smoothing out volatility and building resilience. It is well established that insurance can pick up the pieces when things go wrong; but we are just scratching the surface of its ability to unlock and accelerate the development of technology and infrastructure projects that cities need to implement in order to adapt to the kinds of resilience challenges they will face as global temperatures continue to rise.


Resilient Cities Network has partnered with international insurance broker, Howden, and other insurance members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Insurance Task Force (SMI ITF) to create a joint fellowship program. The objective of which is to help protect member cities and vulnerable communities against mounting climate-related shocks and stresses.

The program centers on the secondment of qualified insurance practitioners from Howden and other insurance organisations (the fellows) into cities for a suggested period of three to six months. All the fellows are of suitable seniority and have the skills and experience required to identify opportunities for innovative insurance solutions to facilitate risk transfer thereby mitigating climate-related risks and vulnerabilities.

The selected cities will benefit from hands-on, solutions-focused risk consultancy focused on building long-term holistic and equitable resilience and reducing city’s vulnerabilities. With a deeper understanding of the impact of a warming world on cities, the insurance market will be better equipped to innovate and evolve to effectively respond to new risks and develop solutions that remove barriers to resilience-building investments.


In late 2022 R-Cities and Howden launched an open call inviting cities worldwide to submit letters of interest for inclusion in the first cohort of fellows who will be placed in Q1 2023. The fellowship program will grow year on year, with the aim of expanding the program to 20 cities over a three-to-five-year period.

Once cities are selected, they will be included in the programmatic design of the secondment and be assigned a fellow. Each fellow will be matched with a city, where they will be placed for a suggested period of three-to-six months. During this time the fellow will work with the city’s resilience team to develop risk transfer solutions that address local resilience challenges.

Knowledge Sharing

Through collaboration with the SMI ITF, and planned associations with educational institutions, the fellow will have access to draw on a broad and deep network of knowledge and expertise. Additionally, the fellowship will be an open source of information within R-Cities. Built into the program will be knowledge and experience-sharing events where lessons, solutions and strategies from selected cities can be exchanged.

Participating Cities


Greater Miami and the Beaches



The Hague


Key Resources

Image for GRRF Report
2023 Summary Report

The pilot year of the Global Risk and Resilience Fellowship brought together city leaders, who have a deep understanding of urban resilience challenges, and insurance professionals who have a specific risk expertise to develop tangible resilience solutions to a key risk in 5 cities. Each city conducted an exploration into a unique risk and resilience challenge, demonstrating the reach and diverse intersection of insurance and resilience.

Read Report

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