The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) is a world-class centre for multi-disciplinary disaster prevention research and communication. ICLR was established by Canada’s property and casualty (p&c) insurance industry as an independent, not-for-profit research institute affiliated with Western University. Institute staff and research associates are international leaders in wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric science, risk perception, hydrology, economics, geography, health sciences, public policy and a number of other disciplines.

Key corporate documents

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The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction began operations in Toronto in autumn 1998 as an independent, not-for-profit research institute. Letters Patent were received in July 1999 and the Institute was incorporated in September 1999 under the Canada Corporations Act. Also in 1999 ICLR established a formal partnership with Western University (nee the University of Western Ontario), opening an office on campus in September 1999.

Oversight of the Institute is the responsibility of a Board of Directors. The Board includes up to nine members – between three and five members elected by members of the Institute; between one and three members appointed by the President of the University of Western Ontario; and the Executive Director. Directors are elected annually at the annual meeting of members.

The Board sets the strategic direction of the Institute; prioritizes issues to be addressed; builds consensus among the membership; represents the interests of the industry; ensures that the operations of the Institute are effective and efficient and guided by the Institute’s mission; and, evaluates, on a regular basis, the performance of the Executive Director.

Board of Directors

Andy Taylor (Board Chair)
President & Chief Executive Officer,
Gore Mutual Insurance

Ken Coley
Dean, Faculty of Engineering,
Western University

Jolee Crosby
President & Chief Executive Officer,
Swiss Re Canada

Debbie Coull-Cicchini
Executive Vice President,

Olivier Gay
President & CEO,
SCOR Canada

Katsu Goda
Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences,
Western University

Donna Ince
Senior Vice President & Chief Underwriting Officer,
Definity Financial Corporation

Paul Kovacs
Executive Director,
Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Claus Kroll
President & CEO,
Munich Re Canada

Anna McCrindell
Senior Vice President & COO,
Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co.

Penny McCune
President & CEO,
SGI Canada

Susan Penwarden
Managing Director, Personal Lines,
Aviva Canada

John Taylor
President & CEO,
Ontario Mutual Insurance Association

Dan Shrubsole
Professor of Geography and Environment & Associate Dean (Undergraduate) Social Science
Western University

Jason Thacker
Senior Vice President, Insurance Claims,
TD Bank Group

Rob Wesseling
President & CEO,
The Cooperators

Advisory Committee

The Insurance Advisory Committee was established in late 2008 to provide a forum for ICLR’s senior researchers to work directly with leaders from the insurance industry. The Committee meets quarterly in Toronto or London. All of ICLR’s senior researchers attend Committee meetings, depending on the subject addressed. All ICLR member insurers are invited to send staff to Committee meetings and presently almost 8o percent chose to do so regularly. Most industry participation is from senior officials involved in underwriting or claims.

Committee members have chosen to focus each meeting on one topic. The initial topics addressed include urban earthquake hazards in Canada; water damage; severe wind; wildfire; and building codes. The Committee establishes specific action items that ICLR can address through research and communication.

Staff Profiles

Paul Kovacs – Executive Director
Adjunct Research Professor, Economics, Western University

Paul Kovacs is founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction at Western University.

Since 1996 Paul has been a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading forum for the study of climate issues. The Panel won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change”. He is Canada’s leading authority on insurance and climate change and has been a contributing author to numerous international and Canadian reports on reducing the risk of loss from earthquakes, flood and severe wind.

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Sophie Guilbault – Director of Partnerships

Sophie is the Director of Partnerships at ICLR. In this role, she has contributed to the growth of the organization’s research and partnership portfolio to ensure the continuous impact of the Institute’s cutting edge disaster risk reduction research. She has designed, implemented, and lead several research and partnership programs to strengthen the research agenda of the Institute, including ICLR’s Cities Adapt Program, the Community of Practice on Climate Risks for Coastal Communities and ICLR’s Quick Response Program.

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Gordon McBean – Professor Emeritus, Western University
Research Chair, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography and Environment, Western University

Gordon McBean is now a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geography and Environment and an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Western University and policy Research Chair at ICLR. He was Professor at Western University (2000-2015); Assistant Deputy Minister, Environment Canada (1994-2000) responsible for weather, climate and air quality sciences and services; Professor, Atmospheric-Oceanic Sciences, University of British Columbia (1988-94); and Senior Scientist in Environment Canada. He is a Member of the Orders of Canada and Ontario; Fellow: Royal Society of Canada; American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, CMOS, IUGG, RCGS and others and awarded, in 2015: UBC Alumni Award of Distinction; AGU Ambassador Award; and AMS Cleveland Abbe Prize; and in 2017, 62nd International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize for outstanding contributions to meteorology, hydrology and geophysical sciences. He has received the 1989 Patterson Medal for distinguished contributions to meteorology by a Canadian. He was a contributor to the establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Lead Author for 1st and 2nd Science Assessments, Review Editor, 4th Assessment and Convening Lead Author, Special Report on Climate Extremes (2009-2011). The IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change”.

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R. Glenn McGillivray – Managing Director
Adjunct Professor, Emergency and Disaster Management (graduate program), York University

Glenn McGillivray is Managing Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. Prior to joining ICLR, he served as Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communication for Swiss Reinsurance Company Canada and was Corporate Secretary for three Swiss Re operations in the country. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Program at York University’s Emergency and Disaster Management program.

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Keith Porter – Chief Engineer

Dr. Keith Porter, PE, PhD is a professional engineer, principal of the Denver applied research firm SPA Risk, and adjunct professor at University of Colorado Boulder. His work has involved helping nations, communities, and corporations improve their disaster resilience. He led the Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves studies for FEMA and others that found that disaster mitigation avoids up to $13 in losses per $1 of cost. He led the USGS’ engineering research on four groundbreaking disaster planning scenarios: ShakeOut, ARkStorm, Tsunami, and HayWired. He led the safety assessment of San Francisco’s soft-story residential buildings for the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS).

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Dan Sandink – Director of Research

Dan Sandink is Director of Research at the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. Since joining ICLR, Dan has authored or co-authored more than 50 technical reports and articles on topics related to protecting Canadians and their property from the impacts of extreme rainfall/urban flooding, high wind, wildland-urban interface fire, and hail. Dan’s writing has also focused on public disaster risk perceptions, public adoption of household disaster risk reduction practices, the role of insurance in managing disasters, climate change adaptation and vulnerability assessment, building materials and products designed to mitigate disaster risk at the household level, among many other topics.

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Slobodan Simonovic – Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Western University
Director Engineering Studies, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Slobodan P. Simonovic is globally recognized for his unique interdisciplinary research in Systems Analysis and the development of deterministic and stochastic simulation, optimization, multi criteria analysis, and other decision-making methodologies. His work  addresses challenging system of systems problems lying at the confluence of society, technology and the environment and has been applied with a sustainable development perspective in water resources management, hydrology, energy, climate change and public infrastructure. His main contributions include modelling risk and resilience of complex systems. 

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