Active Research project

Integrating Nature-Based Solutions into Risk Assessment and Investment Strategies

Project Information

This much needed research will work to integrate nature-based solutions (NBS) into risk science and insurance. The research, conducted in partnership with the University of California Santa Cruz, Center for Coastal Climate Resilience (CCCR), aims to bridge gaps between risk management, insurance, and conservation by identifying opportunities for practical science and action.

The first completed product of this research is a report titled “Nature-Based Solutions & Risk Management, Recommendations for Integrating Nature into Risk Science & Insurance,” which offers 15 recommendations grouped into four key categories: Risk Models, Insurance Coverages, Public-Private Partnerships, and Financing Opportunities. These recommendations aim to advance risk assessment, improve insurance coverages to support nature, strengthen public-private partnerships, and drive more funding to NBS projects. Through collaboration and innovation, the research seeks to achieve major gains for conservation, risk reduction, and community resilience.

Assessing Nature’s Benefits

The research initiative will focus on enabling the assessment of nature’s benefits in private insurance and public risk models. By integrating nature-based solutions into risk assessments, the project aims to quantify the effectiveness of coastal habitats such as wetlands and reefs in mitigating flood risks and enhancing community resilience.

Evaluating Adaptation Benefits

Advancing methods for evaluating the adaptation benefits of nature-based solutions and their inclusion in Benefit Cost Analyses (BCAs) is another critical aspect of the partnership. Through this research, the project seeks to provide decision-makers with robust tools for assessing the cost-effectiveness of nature-based adaptation strategies.

Promoting Equitable Investments

The research aims to inform more equitable investments in adaptation and nature-based solutions by advancing social and vulnerability metrics in risk assessments and BCAs. By incorporating social vulnerability considerations, the research seeks to ensure that nature-based solutions benefit all communities, including those most vulnerable to coastal disasters.

RMS, The Nature Conservancy, Guy Carpenter, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and University of California Santa Cruz collaborated to evaluate the risk reduction benefits of salt marshes during Hurricane Sandy along the East Coast of the U.S. and found that salt marshes provided roughly $625 million dollars in benefits during that storm alone. They reduce Average Annual Losses (AAL) by 15% (Narayan et al. 2017).

Research Outputs

Throughout the duration of the cooperative agreement, CCCR and USACE will deliver a range of outputs aimed at enhancing coastal flood modeling, analyzing nature’s benefits, and providing design recommendations for nature-based solutions. Insights from the first report, “Nature-Based Solutions & Risk Management: Recommendations for Integrating Nature into Risk Science and Insurance,” will serve as a foundation for the research activities. These outputs include timely analyses of nature’s benefits, design recommendations for coral and rocky reef NBS, and insights into the role of nature-based solutions in protecting underserved communities.

This collaborative research with CCCR will bridge gaps in knowledge and capacity for USACE. The partnership aims to drive major gains for risk reduction and community resilience in coastal areas.



Risks from natural hazards are growing due to climate change and habitat loss. Both ins...



Point of Contact

Research Professor Head, Coastal Resilience Lab University of California at Santa Cruz


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