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Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot Launched

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Pilot program to help governments respond to natural disasters

The Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu are all part of a pilot catastrophe risk insurance programme launched on January 17, 2013 to provide their governments with immediate funding if a major (natural) disaster occurs.

Japan, the World Bank and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have teamed up with the 5 Pacific Island Countries to launch the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot. It will test whether a risk transfer arrangement modelled on an insurance plan can help Pacific island nations deal with the immediate financial effects of disasters.

The pilot relies on state-of-the-art financial risk modelling techniques and is the first ever Pacific scheme to use parametric triggers, linking immediate post-disaster insurance payouts to specific hazard events.  This joint effort will allow Pacific island nations to access earthquake and tropical cyclone catastrophe coverage from reinsurance companies at an attractive price.
The World Bank will act as an intermediary between the pilot countries and a group of insurance companies selected through a competitive bidding process – Sompo Japan Insurance, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and Swiss Re. The underlying risk modelling for the transaction is being provided by AIR Worldwide.

The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot is part of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), a joint initiative of the World Bank, SPC, and the Asian Development Bank with financial support from the Government of Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the European Union.  

PCRAFI was launched in 2007 and aims to provide Pacific Island Countries with disaster risk assessment and financing tools to enhance their broader disaster risk management and climate change adaptation agenda.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 11:31  


“Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing is one of the fastest developing technologies no matter whether you are a provider, and developer or a user. And here in the region and for the benefit of Pacific island countries and territories we are all striving to stay at the ‘cutting edge of the technology.’  In this regard the theme of this Conference focusing on mapping Pacific resources is very timely”, said Dr. Russell Howorth, Director, SOPAC Division of SPC, in the opening keynote at the Pacific GIS/RS User Conference held at Suva last week.

The growing impact of GIS and Remote Sensing was very much evident by the record number of attendees and presentations at the conference. Around 300 participants, from the around the Pacific Region convened for the three and half days of presentations, workshops and discussions.

Current and upcoming trends in the geospatial fields such as LiDAR (light detection and ranging) Imagery, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), recent progress in vegetation and land cover mapping, improvements in satellite technologies, imagery classification and open source software were heavily covered during the conference.

The conference has been held annually in Suva for the Pacific region since 1999, is free to attend and jointly organized by Secretariat of the Pacific Community, University of the South Pacific, various departments of the Fiji Government, with support from GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), satellite data and GIS software companies.