2021/10/25 – Zac Taylor “Urbanizing Climate Finance: Tracing the Insurance-linked Securities Trade through South Florida and Singapore”

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Insurance-linked securities (ILS) and related property catastrophe reinsurance market instruments are increasingly positioned by states, development agencies, and financial institutions alike as crucial mechanisms for governing climate change through finance. This talk examines how the expanding market for ILS constitutes, and is constituted by, interconnected yet distinct urban political economies and ecologies, as illuminated by the uses of ILS in the South Florida and Singapore contexts. Singapore’s first SEC Rule 144-A ILS issuance, “First Coast Re Pte” (2019), raised $100 million of investor capital to finance catastrophe risk enmeshed within thousands of Florida residential real estate insurance policies. First Coast Re is taken as a transactional space from which to evaluate how and why particular urban sites and processes come to be central to the assembly and extension of climate finance geographies, and what this portends for the particular urban and regional futures entangled therein. Whereas South Florida insurers tap ILS capital to export excessive financial risks concentrated in the region’s high value, disaster-prone real estate market, Singapore actors leverage exposure from South Florida to consolidate the city-state’s position as an international financial center and to promote reinsurance as a stabilizing force in Southeast Asia.

Zac Taylor is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at the Delft University of Technology. They research urban climate risk governance within the real estate-finance system from the vantages of South Florida, Singapore, and the Netherlands, and co-facilitate the Urban Climate Finance Network. Zac’s recent work can be found in Environment and Planning A and the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society.

Chair: Manuel Aalbers, KU Leuven, Belgium

Manuel B. Aalbers is professor of Human Geography at KU Leuven, the University of Leuven (Belgium) where he leads a research group on the intersection of real estate, finance and states. He has also published on financialization, redlining, social and financial exclusion, neoliberalism, mortgage markets, the privatization of social housing, neighborhood decline and gentrification. He is the author of Place, Exclusion, and Mortgage Markets (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) and The Financialization of Housing: A Political Economy Approach (Routledge, 2016) and the editor of Subprime Cities: The Political Economy of Mortgage Markets (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). He is also the associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Urban Studies (Sage, 2010) and editor-in-chief of geography journal TESG. Most of his papers can be downloaded from https://kuleuven.academia.edu/ManuelAalbers. Finally, Manuel is also one of the founding members of FinGeo.net, the Global Network on Financial Geography.

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