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College welcomes new Storm Risk Management Center director

Aug 22, 2017

Jack_nicholsonIn a state considered the world’s peak risk zone for wind catastrophes, with personal residential exposure to major storms estimated at more than $1.2 trillion and potential for hurricane losses in large population areas exceeding $200 billion, the case for a storm risk research center in Tallahassee is a strong one.

“It makes sense for Florida to have a premier research center at Florida State University in the state’s capital city, which is the focal point of legislation and administrative actions that have a bearing on the state,” said Jack Nicholson, who joined the College of Business last month as the new director of its Florida Catastrophic Storm Risk Management Center.

Created by the Florida Legislature in 2007, the Storm Center promotes and disseminates research on issues related to catastrophic storm loss, and its activities focus on supporting Florida’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from such storms.

Nicholson, who retired in 2016 after 21 years as chief operating officer at the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (CAT Fund), was a strong proponent of Storm Center’s establishment and served on the center’s advisory council for more than a decade. He has co-authored papers and reports with past center directors, Lorilee Medders and Patrick Maroney, and participated in numerous center-related outreach activities, workshops, seminars and conferences.

“Dr. Nicholson’s years of industry experience in insurance rating and regulation, including his time at the CAT Fund, make him uniquely qualified to carry out the goals of the center, and we’re excited he has joined our faculty,” said Cassandra Cole, chair of the Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate and Legal Studies, which houses the Storm Center.

Nicholson, who earned his Ph.D. in risk management and insurance from the University of Georgia, said he will develop a strategic plan, refine the vision for the Storm Center and prioritize five specific activities. These include promoting the center as a focal point and repository of storm-related information and resources; conducting and promoting catastrophic storm-related research; disseminating and communicating information and research findings; participating in educational conferences, workshops, teaching opportunities and social media; and increasing fundraising activities to ensure the long-term survival of the center and the accomplishment of its mission.

The Storm Center has had generous support from the efforts of the college’s Dr. William T. Hold/The National Alliance Program in Risk Management and Insurance as well as net proceeds generated by the annual Insurance Conference on Financial Reporting, which is co-hosted by the accounting firm of Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. and sponsored by six insurance industry firms and organizations.

Although Nicholson expects his leadership, managerial, administrative and research skills to have an impact on the Storm Center, he says his approach will be to build upon the work of past directors Mahoney and Medders. He also anticipates relying on the center’s advisory council for input and advice and on focusing the Storm Center on meaningful, relevant and timely topics.

Nicholson says he looks forward to speaking to risk management and insurance classes about the Storm Center on a wide range of topics, such as catastrophic storm modeling, the insurance and reinsurance markets, and legislative and regulatory issues.  In the past, he has spoken regularly to FSU risk management and law classes.

He says he will continue the Storm Center’s involvement with three key insurance industry meetings: the 2017 INCON Insurance Conference on Financial Reporting scheduled for September 20-21, 2017; the 2017 Florida Chamber of Commerce Insurance Summit on November 2-3, 2017; and the 2018 Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Participating Insurer Workshop not yet scheduled.

By Barbara Ash





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