Do the names Dorian, Matthew, Maria and Irma mean anything to you? Probably not. Yet, for people across the Caribbean, they still conjure up unforgettable images of torrential rain and destructive winds. Every year, between June and November, powerful hurricanes rip through the Caribbean region with unimaginable strength, killing many people and damaging the homes, buildings, businesses and infrastructure they have built with care and effort over recent years.
Weather forecasters are predicting that the upcoming hurricane season will be even more devastating than usual. The Caribbean islands are particularly vulnerable to these natural disasters. Add to this the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region, and the immediate prospects for people in the Caribbean people do not look too bright.
The European Union is strongly committed to stand with its partners in the Caribbean. Accordingly, as part of its global response to COVID-19, it has provided a €10 million grant to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) to help CCRIF member countries pay their disaster insurance for the 2020 hurricane season.
In disaster-prone areas, this type of insurance is vital, as it provides immediate payouts to countries where a hurricane has hit and had a direct impact on the lives of everyone in its path. For instance, less than two weeks after Hurricane Dorian struck in September 2019, the Bahamas received a $12 million payout from CCRIF, with half of it coming within the first 7 days. Thanks to this quick injection of funds, countries are able to respond to immediate needs and plan stronger, more resilient rebuilding.
Through the support provided by the European Union, Caribbean countries have received discounts of at least a quarter on their insurance coverage for tropical storms or hurricanes, excess rainfall, earthquakes, and damage to coastal communities and fisheries. CCRIF member countries may utilise the EU-funded discount over the next two policy years.
In providing its Caribbean partner countries with funding to increase their resilience to natural disasters, the EU is helping them pursue their sustainable development objectives. And now, as the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season begins, these countries can rest assured that they have the coverage they need.
CCRIF came into being in 2007, as the world’s ﬁrst multi-country risk insurance pool and the ﬁrst insurance instrument to successfully develop policies for natural disasters. The European Union was involved in setting it up. Since its inception, CCRIF has made 41 payouts totalling $152 million to 13 of its 22 member governments. Find out more on https://www.ccrif.org/.
The €10 million grant is provided under the EU Regional Resilience Facility (RETF), managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the World Bank. For more information on the grant and this year’s insurance renewal, read the press release.