Global insurance initiative aims to protect millions from climate disasters

A global initiative was launched Tuesday at the UN climate talks in Bonn, with the aim of providing insurance to an extra 400 million vulnerable people by 2020 for climate related disasters.

2017 is already standing out as one of the worst – and most costly – years for climate disasters with its devastating Atlantic hurricane season. Extreme weather events are estimated to have caused more than $200 billion in damages worldwide so far this year. Together with droughts and rising sea levels, vulnerable communities are being devastated with increasing frequency and intensity, writes the UN.

In the face of skyrocketing costs, new forms of financial protection are taking front and centre at the UN climate talks currently underway in Bonn, Germany. And the InsuResilience Global Partnership is one response to this.

Calling it a “major scaling up of an initiative started by the G7 in 2015 under the German presidency”, the global insurance scheme now brings together G20 countries in partnership with what are known as V20 nations – a group of 49 of the most vulnerable countries, including small islands like Fiji, which holds the presidency of COP23.

Launched on Tuesday, its goal is to meet the pledge of providing cover and support to an extra 400 million vulnerable people by 2020.

“The Global Partnership is a practical response to the needs of those who suffer loss because of climate change,” said the COP23 President and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

As part of the launch, the German government announced support of the new global partnership with $125 million. This comes on the heals of a £30 million commitment to the initiative made by the British government in July 2017.

“Climate risk insurance is a response to the simple fact that extreme weather events are constantly increasing in number and intensity, and also a response to our experience that the international community and the countries affected by extreme weather events tend to really act after those incidents occurred and they tend to come too late and to intervene not significantly enough,” Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, said.

“So our intention is to act more preemptively, to act in time, and to act decisively in order to reduce the impact of extreme weather events. Insurance is one tool to address this challenge,” he added.

 

Image credit: NLRC via IFRC

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