JIS News

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, says that Jamaica may have to consider setting up its own disaster relief fund.

"Perhaps we have to look at how we can come up with our own insurance so that in case we have a challenge like Hurricane Sandy we will be able to act,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said on Tuesday October 30 in the House of Representatives.

The Prime Minister made the comment, as she informed that Jamaica would not be able to access funds from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) to offset the over $5 billion repair bill left by the hurricane.

Earlier, Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Audley Shaw, had suggested that the government should look to put a disaster insurance fund in place.

"The severity of the storm wasn’t strong enough. Payout usually comes at above category four based on the premium paid by Jamaica. The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility estimated initially that the damage to Jamaica was about US$26 million or approximately $2.4 billion,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.

The CCRIF is a risk pooling facility, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. It is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments by quickly providing short term liquidity when a policy is triggered.

It is the world’s first and, to date, only regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing.

The facility was developed through funding from the Japanese Government, and was capitalised through contributions to a multi-donor Trust Fund by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the United Kingdom and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments.

Sixteen governments are currently members of CCRIF: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.