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Disaster risk and readiness for insurance solutions in Small Island Developing States

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New InsuRisk report analyzes disaster risk and readiness for insurance solutions in Small Island Developing States

Last night at the 4th InsuResilience Global Partnership Forum, UNU-EHS and the InsuResilience Secretariat launched their new report, Disaster Risk and Readiness for Insurance Solutions in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The InsuResilience Global Partnership is the world premier global coordination forum on disaster finance and climate risk insurance. The annual Partnership Forum acts as a convening space for decision makers, implementing organizations, private sector, academia and civil society to reflect, share and learn how societies can better prepare for future risks.

The new InsuRisk special report focuses on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In addition to slow-onset events, such as sea-level rise, these states are confronted with serious challenges associated with climate-related extreme events and natural hazards. Risk financing and risk transfer measures can help manage these challenges, but for each country the likelihood of their adoption depends on the presence of a variety of enabling factors.

The researchers utilized the InsuRisk Assessment tool to assess both the levels of climate and disaster risk and the countries’ readiness for insurance solutions for each of the 38 United Nations Member SIDS. They found that cyclones and storm surges are a particular challenge for most SIDS, but the resulting risk is generally higher for SIDS located in the Caribbean, with Haiti and the Dominican Republic being the first and second most at-risk SIDS countries globally.

“Our analysis shows that the majority of the island states considered in this report are exposed and highly vulnerable to multiple climate-related and natural hazards – however with strong differences across SIDS”, said Dr. Michael Hagenlocher, senior scientist at UNU-EHS and lead author of the report. “Creating a more nuanced understanding of disaster risk in all dimensions of hazard, exposure and vulnerability across SIDS, as provided by this report, is a necessary first step to support the implementation of needs-centric risk management approaches” he adds.

The analysis also shows that readiness for insurance solutions is highest in Timor-Leste, Mauritius, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago. Countries with relatively small-size economies, such as Haiti, the Marshall Islands, Guinea-Bissau and Comoros showed lower readiness for insurance solutions, pointing to urgently needed support to strengthen the necessary capacities.

The report also highlights that due to their small geographic and market size making insurance either unaffordable or unavailable, SIDS face specific challenges accessing and facilitating access to insurance solutions. “High climate risk exposure and small market size in small islands present an immediate barrier to price insurance at affordable levels,” said Soenke Kreft, Executive Director of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) and co-author of the report. “It is of urgency to prepare strategic risk management mechanisms for these countries and communities, including through the work of the InsuResilience Global Partnership. The report makes an important point to strengthen regional partnerships that help reduce the cost of climate risk insurance and transfer critical sovereign risks,” Kreft added.

The report was developed in partnership with the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII), the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (LMU), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and the InsuResilience Secretariat under the lead of UNU-EHS. You can read the full report here.