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Demonstrating support for the world’s first ever multi-country catastrophe insurance pool, donors have pledged US$47 million to the reserve fund of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), which will provide participating governments from the region with immediate access to funds if hit by a hurricane or earthquake.
Pledges have been made by Canada, $17.5 million; France, $6.5 million; the United Kingdom, $7.5 million; the Caribbean Development Bank, $5 million; and the World Bank, $10 million.
Pooling their risk will save the 18 participating countries approximately 40 per cent in individual premium payments. This Caribbean-owned, regional institution is the first regional disaster insurance facility in the world.
Donor contributions to the reserve fund are crucial toward assisting the CCRIF to become operational by this year’s hurricane season, beginning in June 2007.
The donor pledging conference, hosted by the World Bank in Washington, D.C. on Monday, February 26 was attended by Ministers and other representatives of 18 governments of the Caribbean region, international and regional organizations, and donors, such as Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the European Union, among others.
In his remarks, Dr. Omar Davies, Finance and Planning Minister said that, “it is important, within the context of Caribbean countries, that the issue of country risk financing for hazards related to climate changes be put squarely on the agenda. The role of the donor community is paramount in expanding the range of risks underwritten by the facility, which naturally implies an expansion in the capital requirements”.
Dr. Davies commended the donor countries and the World Bank for the tremendous financial support they have given towards the establishment of the CCRIF. He said that the pledge of $47 million would go a far way in enhancing the fund.
“While we recognize that the donor community and the multilateral institutions will assist in the reconstruction efforts, there is always an immediate need for resources to cover emergencies, for clean-up operations, to effect immediate repairs and to assist the most vulnerable individuals and groups. This is where the proposed CCRIF is intended to assist most,” the Minister said.
He assured the donors of Jamaica’s full commitment to continued regional collaboration in devising and implementing strategies and programmes to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards.
“I wish to formally announce that Jamaica has confirmed its commitment to participate in the CCRIF by purchasing coverage for both earthquake and hurricane perils. We meet here today to make this first step one of significance,” the Minister said.
Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, in his remarks said that the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility would be critical in helping vulnerable countries start repairs quickly.
“For the most vulnerable citizens in these countries, this facility can help them start rebuilding their lives sooner rather than later,” he said.
Participating countries from the region include Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Bermuda, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands.