Understanding risk to create resilient platforms for sustainable growth and human dignity.
Public/Private Partners Highlight Progress in Insurance Initiatives Targeting Climate, Disaster Risks
How a New Caribbean Insurance Program Will Arm Local Fisheries With Risk Management Tools
February 27, 2017 – Leaders from the United Nations and global insurance firms brought together humanitarian, governmental and industry experts to discuss the steps at-risk countries are taking to promote new insurance facilities and improve humanitarian and economic conditions in their regions during the recent World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The Insurance Development Forum (IDF) and the United Nation’s Office of Coordination for Human Affairs (OCHA) sponsored the panel session, “Building Resilience: Insurance for Humanity,” at the World Food Program’s tent. The critical nature of modern risk management tools was a major focus of the discussion with speakers from Grenada and the African Union touting the crucial role insurance already is playing ensuring sustainable economic growth in emerging economies.
Dr. Angus Friday, Grenada’s Ambassador to the United States and Mexico, illustrated the importance of insurance and the impact it can have on economic livelihoods, announcing the formation of the Caribbean Ocean Assets Sustainability FaciliTy (COAST), a new program that will provide local fisheries and fishermen with risk management tools.
“Grenada is moving from advocacy to action on climate issues,” said Dr. Friday. “And we will seek to promote this new type of insurance facility, which we believe will help us take action on climate resilience and improve the livelihoods of common fisherfolks.”
Dr. Ngozi Okanjo-Iweal, who previously served two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and was Managing Director of the World Bank, represented the African Risk Capacity (ARC) on the panel. She said agricultural risk management programs are successfully supporting African farmers, noting that recent claims payments “have helped 1.5 million African families carry on their lives.” Development leaders need to keep finding ways “to gather around and support…this type of private sector-based African partnership,” she said.
Stephen O’Brien, UN Deputy-Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordination, also participated in the panel with leading insurance executives Christian Mumenthaler, CEO of Swiss Re, and Stephen Catlin, Deputy Chairman of XL Catlin and Chairman of the IDF. These advocates of public-private partnerships discussed the ways governments, NGOs and private companies are coming together to increase resiliency efforts in some of the highest risk areas around the world.
“By being anticipatory and predictable, [a risk-based insurance] approach can vastly enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian action,” said O’Brien, noting that insurers collaborating with the IDF “will significantly increase the pace and coverage of insurance solutions to protect the vulnerable, and will deliver a structural change in the way that we collectively build resilience over years to come.”
“The time is right to change things,” Mumenthaller added, reinforcing earlier calls to take action now and increase risk awareness efforts. “The purpose of insurance and reinsurance is to make the world more sustainable and more resilient.”
Catlin closed the session by highlighting the societal benefits of modern risk management tools, as well as the deep collaboration that will be needed to achieve collective impact. “This is an industry challenge that must be met collectively,” he said. “We need the help of the United Nations and World Bank to make a difference. This is why we are here.”
A video of the full public session from the panel discussion at Davos is available on the IDF website at theidf.org/press/davos-video.
The Insurance Development Forum (IDF) is an unprecedented public/private partnership between leaders of the United Nations (UN), the World Bank Group, and the insurance industry. Its initial focus is to contribute to closing the protection gap—the gap between insured disaster losses and the actual economic costs of disasters—by optimizing and extending the use of insurance and its related risk management capabilities to build greater resilience for people, communities, businesses and public institutions that are vulnerable to climate change, disasters and related economic shocks.
The IDF is chaired by Stephen Catlin, and co-chaired by Joaquim Levy, World Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer, and Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. Other Steering Committee members include Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the Financial Stability Board, and 13 insurance industry CEOs.