Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Regional insurer CCRIF to expand services

Published:Wednesday | February 22, 2017 | 2:00 AM
In this November 7, 2016 photo, CCRIF CEO Isaac Anthony (right) presents a memento to Haiti's Minister of Finance Yves Bastien, symbolising payouts of US$23.4 million to Haiti due to damage from Hurricane Matthew.

The decade-old catastrophe insurer, CCRIF SPC, will be developing three new products for drought, agriculture and fisheries, and is expanding services beyond the Caribbean.

CCRIF currently provides hurricane, earthquake and excess rainfall parametric insurance to 16 Caribbean member states, and more recently to Central American governments. It added a microinsurance product called the Livelihood Protection Policy or LLP four years ago.

"Working with MCII and Munich Re, with support from the German, in 2013 we brought to market a microinsurance parametric product the Livelihood Protection Policy targeted at vulnerable persons for farmers, day labourers, fishers, seasonal workers in the agriculture, fisheries, tourism and construction sectors," said CCRIF chairman Milo Pearson at the launch of activities to mark the organisation's 10th anniversary in Barbados.

"This is an approach that is being actively promoted globally as a way to help the most vulnerable people and communities," he said.

CCRIF formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility is headquartered in Cayman Islands. Pearson also told representatives of regional organisations gathered at the Caribbean Development Bank headquarters in Barbados that the innovative model of risk transfer is being emulated in other regions in the world.

He said CCRIF has grown from being the first multi-country, not-for-profit risk pool in the world to being considered as the international best practice in risk transfer and a model for other regions in the world to help countries, especially small island coastal states, to become more resilient to natural hazards and climate change.

It's payouts to date have topped US$68 million, the largest of which was a US$23 million distribution to Haiti last year for damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

reduced burdens

"Since 2007, CCRIF has made 22 payouts to 10 member governments on their earthquake, hurricane and/or excess rainfall policies all within 14 days of the event. We have witnessed first-hand how

payouts have resulted in reduced burdens on state finances and many of the payouts were used almost immediately to assist with post disaster clean-up, assistance to communities, clearing roads and rehabilitating important infrastructure," said Pearson.

"It is CCRIF's rapid payment that our member countries indicate is a major benefit of CCRIF membership and we are proud that we continue to be able to provide insurance that is affordable to our members so that they can continue to renew their policies from year to year and purchase new products when they come to market - for example, excess rainfall coverage which became available in 2013 after considerable demand," he said.

CCRIF is currently expanding its services to Central American countries, all of which Pearson said can now access the low-cost catastrophe insurance coverage provided to Caribbean members.

Nicaragua was the first Central American country to sign up to the fund.

Caricom Assistant Secretary General for Trade and Economic Integration, Joseph Cox, hailed CCRIF's success in providing post-disaster support to Caribbean countries that have come to rely on the quick disbursement of funds to manage budgetary volatility after a catastrophe.

"For instance, CCRIF was the first to make an actual financial contribution to Haiti immediately after the massive magnitude 7.0 2010 earthquake, and again in 2016 for Tropical Cyclone Matthew when the payout was the highest ever - at US$23 million," Cox said at the event in Barbados.

- CMC