Swenja Surminski

Chair; Board Member

Swenja was elected Chair in September 2021. She is a leading expert on climate resilience and adaptation. In May 2022 she took up a role as Managing Director Climate and Sustainability at Marsh McLennan Advantage, and is a member of the UK's Committee on Climate Change - Adaptation Committee. She is also a Professor in Practice at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), overseeing research projects on climate risk management, sustainable finance, climate and resilience strategies. She is an Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and currently supports the InsuResilience Global Partnership in their work on integrated solutions for agriculture, infrastructure, nature based solutions and anticipatory action.  For 6 years she was Associate Principal at Vivid Economics and has held several positions in the international insurance industry.  A political scientist and ecological economist by training, her work embraces environmental, social and economic perspectives, with a focus on urban communities and the private sector. Swenja is a contributing author to the IPCC, lead author of the UK's Climate Change Risk Assessment, and research lead for the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance. Her work focuses on capacity building, translation and knowledge transfer between science, policy and industry, building on her work in the insurance industry and as advisor to governments, private sector and civil society, including as Visiting Academic at the Bank of England. She appears regularly in print, TV and online media.

Swenja was a Fulbright Scholar in the US, studying Ecological Economics and International Relations at the University of New Hampshire and received a PhD in Political Science from Hamburg University for her work on ‘Climate Change and the Insurance Industry’ in 2002. Her PhD project was funded by Munich Re, where she also worked as a researcher. As a student she volunteered in Kenya and Fiji, and did internships with Greenpeace, Deutscher Bundestag and Houses of Parliament in the UK. Swenja loves long-distance running, has four kids and one husky.