Tuesday, September 3, 2013

World Bank pilots climate insurance

Islands Business: The World Bank’s leading official for the Asia-Pacific region has highlighted the Bank’s support for action on climate change, insurance and disaster risk management, as Pacific leaders meet this week in the Marshall Islands.

Axel van Trotsenburg is the new World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, taking up his position last February. Van Trotsenburg is in Majuro this week as an observer at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands.

Working with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the World Bank is developing a regional insurance scheme to strengthen immediate responses to natural disasters.

Last January, a two year pilot insurance program began for five countries (Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Marshall Islands). With finance from Japan, the pilot includes a regional pooled fund that allows smaller states to secure US$45 million of insurance coverage for damage from cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis – insurance that each country would find it hard to access on their own.

Van Trotsenburg said that the insurance pilot is part of a wider program to improve risk assessment and response: “Insurance is just one element in a whole array of activities that should not be limited to what happens after a natural disaster strikes.”...

Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. US Army photo

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