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Bridgetown, Barbados, March 15, 2013 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) hosted a strategic donor meeting at the offices of the CDB in Barbados on March 6, 2013 to discuss ways to support CCRIF’s new excess rainfall product and to coordinate with donors’ disaster risk management initiatives in the region.

In his opening remarks, CDB President Dr. Warren Smith indicated that the CDB was pleased to facilitate this discussion which will increase cooperation among CCRIF, donors and regional organisations “in enhancing the disaster risk management capacity of the region as a whole and coordinating our efforts in keeping with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.”

The meeting brought together international development partners including the UK Department for International Development (DFID), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Inter-American Bank, and the European Union among others. Regional institutions represented included the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). Other participants included His Excellency Ambassador Appio Claudio Muniz Acquarone of Brazil and Mr Yu Bu, Alternate Director for China to CDB and First Secretary of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados.

Donors have played a key role in helping CCRIF to meet its key objective of providing a cost-effective way to pre-finance short-term liquidity after a catastrophic event, allowing governments to begin recovery efforts immediately. A good example of this was the US$ 8 million payout made to Haiti 14 days after the devastating 2010 earthquake. This payout – which came before any other direct donor support – enabled the Haitian public sector and emergency services to continue to function in the weeks and months after the earthquake. By contributing towards the capitalisation of CCRIF, donors indirectly helped the Facility to reduce its expenditures on reinsurance, increase the financial security of the Facility, and decrease the premium charged to member countries.

One of the main items of discussion was CCRIF’s new coverage option, the CCRIF/Swiss Re Excess Rainfall product, which is now being made available to all CARICOM countries. Discussions focused on potential donor support to enable Caribbean countries at risk from extreme rainfall to take advantage of this innovative product. The excess rainfall product will complement the Facility’s tropical cyclone coverage which is based on wind and storm surge losses. The excess rainfall product was developed in direct response to interest expressed by many CCRIF participating countries and stakeholder partners in enhancing existing options to include coverage
against damage produced by heavy rain and its triggering of floods and landslides. Donors were impressed with the product’s potential to help all countries in the Caribbean region – including those which are not at significant risk from tropical cyclones, such as Guyana and Suriname.

A number of commitments came out of the meeting:

  • Donors committed to examine how they could support the roll-out of the CCRIF/Swiss Re Excess Rainfall product.
  • CCRIF agreed to assist donors with helping governments to better understand the role of parametric insurance in disaster risk management and the importance of engaging in wider disaster risk reduction activities beyond insurance.
  • The Inter-American Development Bank will seek to enhance its partnership with CCRIF in developing a technical cooperation initiative that would be designed to help countries better understand and assess their risks from natural disasters and help them find ways to incorporate these risks into national decision making and planning.
  • CCRIF committed to organise a regional meeting of key stakeholders and donors on the concept and implementation of a ‘Country Risk Officer’ initiative – for specially designated government officers who would act as a central point of contact for coordinated disaster risk management in their country.

CCRIF’s recently appointed CEO, Mr Isaac Anthony, was pleased with the results of the meeting and stated that it “provided an opportunity to create a mechanism for inter-organisation information sharing and collaboration that can be used to deal with a variety of development issues that face the Caribbean. CCRIF – and its current and future member countries – will certainly benefit from this cooperative approach.”

About CCRIF: CCRIF is a not-for-profit 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 regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF represents a paradigm shift in the way governments treat risk, with Caribbean governments leading the way in pre-disaster planning. CCRIF 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 UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments.

Since the inception of CCRIF in 2007, the Facility has made eight payouts totalling US$32,179,470 to seven member governments. All payouts were transferred to the respective governments less than a month (and in some cases within a week) after each event.

CCRIF’s new CEO, Mr Isaac Anthony presents an update on CCRIF - the Facility’s main achievements and lessons learned - at the CCRIF strategic donor meeting held March 6, 2013

Mr Yu Bu, Alternate Director for China to CDB and First Secretary of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados in discussion with finance specialist Mrs Desirée Cherebin, Caribbean  Development Bank-nominated board member of CCRIF at the CCRIF strategic donor meeting held March 6, 2013
Dr Warren Smith, CDB President, welcomes participants (from left to right: Mr Ken Blakely, CCRIF Board Member, His Excellency Ambassador Appio Claudio Muniz Acquarone of Brazil, Mrs Desirée Cherebin, CCRIF Board Member and Mr Yu Bu, Alternate Director for China to CDB and First Secretary of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados) to the CCRIF strategic donor meeting held March 6, 2013.