May 15-19 was Infrastructure Week 2017, which is, as the official website describes it, “a national week of events, education and advocacy efforts to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans.”
Zurich is especially concerned about the economic impact the deplorable state of our nation’s roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports, water and sewer systems, energy grid and more is having on our 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. As one of the nation’s largest insurance providers for the construction industry, we are committed to sharing insights on this issue and helping businesses better understand the impacts and risks that affect them.
At Zurich, we kicked off Infrastructure Week by announcing a new web page, Challenges of our Nation’s Aging Infrastructure, dedicated to providing key information to support the conversations taking place during Infrastructure Week and beyond. Along with an infographic and articles, the site is home to a white paper that lays out the state of our infrastructure and the risks and impacts realized in four key areas: water, transportation, energy and communications.
The impact of this deterioration is wreaking havoc on many of our nation’s businesses, strangling their ability to thrive. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that by 2020, “aging and unreliable” infrastructure will cost American businesses .2 trillion. The white paper and other resources on this web page are designed to help businesses understand these impacts and the risks.
Also during Infrastructure Week, I personally joined the conversation by participating in an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center at their Washington, DC offices. The panel was entitled, Trillion for Infrastructure: Balancing Public and Private Sources and representatives from the private sector discussed how the public and private sectors can work together to meet infrastructure needs.
Infrastructure repairs face a tough funding fight. During the panel, I stressed the important role that Public Private Partnerships (P3s) can plan in building infrastructure and the very critical 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 complex P3 projects due to the size of the projects, the challenging work conditions and the many different subcontractors and types of workers involved. The panel was a great opportunity to share Zurich’s deep experience and insights and contribute to the conversation.
While Infrastructure Week may be over for 2017, Zurich’s commitment is not. The insurance industry has a key role to play in seeking solutions for rebuilding infrastructure. We won’t be able to truly improve our infrastructure unless we encourage collaboration between all stakeholders.