Zurich North America has launched a webpage dedicated to the challenges of the nation’s aging infrastructure as part of its participation in “Infrastructure Week 2017.” Infrastructure Week is a week of events, education and advocacy efforts to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans. Zurich is concerned about the economic impact that the debilitated state of our nation’s roads, bridges, rail, airports, water systems – and more – is having on the business community.
“We see the renewed interest in a rebuilding boom as a tremendous opportunity for the construction industry and the businesses that support it,” says Paul Horgan, head of North America Commercial Insurance for Zurich North America. “We are committed to sharing insights on this issue and helping businesses understand the impacts and risks that affect them.”
Zurich’s new Challenges of our Nation’s Aging Infrastructure webpage is dedicated to providing information to support the conversations taking place during Infrastructure Week and beyond. Along with an infographic and articles, the site is home to an Aging Infrastructure white paper, which lays out the state of our infrastructure and the risks and impacts realized in four key areas – water, transportation, energy and communications.
Aging and poorly maintained infrastructure exposes companies to a number of risks. Deteriorating infrastructure can increase the risk of bodily injury from accidents. Aged pipes can burst, causing flooding and property damage. Obsolete or outdated systems and equipment can lead to business interruption or supply chain disruption. In addition, equipment breakdown can lead to lost production and income. As infrastructure ages, interconnected systems may be impacted by external shocks.
“There’s no doubt that the deplorable state of our infrastructure is costing the economy hours of lost productivity and efficiency. The impact of this is wreaking havoc on many of our nation’s businesses, strangling their ability to thrive,” Horgan adds.
The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that by 2020, “aging and unreliable” infrastructure will cost American businesses $1.2 trillion.
As an affiliate of Infrastructure Week, Zurich is just one of hundreds of leaders of organizations and citizens from around America to highlight the issue of aging infrastructure and to encourage policymakers to invest in the projects, technologies, and policies necessary to make America competitive, prosperous, and safe.
Zurich’s Horgan participated in an Infrastructure Week event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center at their Washington, DC offices. The panel is entitled “$1 Trillion for Infrastructure: Balancing public and private sources.” Representatives from the private sector discussed how the public and private sectors can work together to meet infrastructure needs; the role that Public Private Partnerships (P3s) can have in rebuilding infrastructure; and the role that Surety plays in making P3s viable funding solutions. Surety bonds are one of the methods of security for infrastructure projects and have much to offer to P3 projects due to the size of the projects, the challenging work conditions and the different subcontractors and types of workers.
“The insurance industry has a role to play in seeking solutions for rebuilding infrastructure,” he adds. “We won’t be able to improve our infrastructure unless we encourage collaboration between all stakeholders.”