It was a true meeting of minds from across the insurance industry, government, civil society, international organisations and INGOs; all dedicated to tackling the challenge of how to leverage insurance market mechanisms to protect populations from natural disasters, manage climate risk and create a more resilient world.
Our personal highlights were:
- The IDF welcome event the day before hosted by Rowan Douglas, CEO of Capital, Science & Policy Practice at Willis Towers Watson and Chair of the IDF Operating Committee which started off some fascinating discussions with African Risk Capacity, the Nature Conservancy, Global Communities and CCRIF that continued into the next day.
- The comments of Harison Randriarimanana, Minister of Farming and Agriculture of Madagascar, highlighting the myriad climate challenges faced by smallhold farmers and other vulnerable populations in his country.
- Isabelle Nowak of VisionFund (WorldVision's microfinance arm) speaking about disaster recovery lending facilitated by ARDIS - African and Asian Resilience in Disaster Insurance Scheme - https://www.insuresilience.org/visionfund-launch-of-the-largest-non-governmental-climate-insurance-programme-for-african-asian-smallholder-farmers.
- The lunchtime working session on Inclusive Insurance co-moderated by Garance Wattez-Richard of AXA Emerging Customers and Craig Churchill of the ILO Impact Insurance Facility with a wide-ranging discussion on how best to reach new customers in emerging markets and demonstrate the value proposition of insurance protections as part of a broader risk management strategy and service offering.
Key themes that emerged were:
- The importance of a supportive and conducive regulatory environment to encourage innovation and increase insurance penetration, particularly in emerging markets. It was great to hear from Jonathan Dixon of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and Stephanie Zinsmeyer of the A2ii (Access to Insurance Initiative) on ways in which their organisations are supporting insurance supervisors, sharing best practice and building capacity in emerging markets to broaden access to insurance and protect policyholders.
- There is now undoubtedly a firmly entrenched understanding at the government level and within international organisations - the G7, UNDP, UNEP, WFP, ILO, G20, V20, the World Bank - that insurance comprises an essential element of sustainable development in the face of climate change: permitting disaster recovery and comprehensive planning for disaster response; signalling and understanding risks which permits adaptation and mitigation; and as a key pillar of financial inclusion in emerging markets - facilitating lending and saving that foster long-term economic growth and resilience.
- The importance of cross-pollination of ideas and the value of public-private partnerships made possible by gateways to collaboration - the Insurance Development Forum, the InsuResilience Global Partnership and the London Centre for Global Disaster Protection. Concerted action across the public sector, the private sector and civil society will be key to driving innovation and fostering development needed to achieve the G7's target of providing access to climate risk insurance for an additional 400 million people by 2020 and in furtherance of the UN's sustainable development goals (SDGs).
With great ideas abounding and new contacts and collaborations being forged, there will undoubtedly be further progress in deploying tools of risk financing for climate resilience by the time of the G20 summit in Argentina in September 2018 and the UN Climate Summit one year later - September 2019.