Insurance Charity is Not an Option

14 November 2017

Four years after the decision to create the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damage, Parties are discussing a five-year work plan, which should have been started last year. In Paris, Loss and Damage was finally differentiated from Adaptation. However, American, Australian and European negotiators keep arguing that they don’t see how Loss and Damage is different from Adaptation. Really?!


The reality is that we are living in a warming world. Each year we see the impact of extreme weather events increasing, wiping out decades of development in some countries. For instance, this September, 96% of Dominica was destroyed by two hurricanes in just two weeks. So far, the money Dominica has received is mostly humanitarian assistance, which was promised after tropical storm Erika two years ago. This money will barely cover the cleaning costs, let alone to allow the country to provide relief to its population and rebuild to become resilient enough for coping with more intense and frequent hurricanes in the future.


ECO hears that the new InsuResilience Global Partnership, which builds on previous G7 and G20 agreements, will be launched today. ECO resists any notion that an insurance-only approach is adequate to address loss and damage. The WIM Executive Committee does not have enough time to work at adequate speed against the urgency of action. Insurance can form part of a solution in the specific context where people can afford it, where disasters can be insured, and where it is driven by people’s needs, not by the market. Munich Re and Swiss Re told Bloomberg yesterday that they are concerned about facing increasing difficulties in providing insurance products in the future, as the adverse impacts of climate change increase. And let us not forget that many climate impacts, such as sea level rise, are uninsurable. This is already a reality for many Pacific Island States.

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