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Insurance Companies Call on Governments to Take More Action on Climate Change

Source: United Nations Environment Programme

Posted on 07 Sep 2010

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Four initiatives representing more than 100 leading international insurance companies on Monday are calling on governments worldwide to harness risk management techniques and insurance expertise to help the developing world adapt to climate change.

The initiatives will present a statement aimed at world leaders and negotiators of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at a press conference to be held in Lloyd's of London.

The statement will highlight how governments can unlock significant potential to increase the protection and reduce the vulnerability of developing world populations and economies from natural disasters through better risk management and by enabling insurance-type approaches.

The four groups launching the statement today, on the eve of an international, low-carbon investment conference convened by the UK government, are ClimateWise, The Geneva Association, the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

The recent floods in Pakistan, China and Niger are a timely reminder that the world must adapt to become more resilient to the long-lasting and significant changes in climatic conditions being experienced across the world. These changes are likely to have the most damaging impacts on the developing world, where even small economic losses can have long-term effects on development, and where human health is generally less robust.

In the past three decades, direct global economic losses for all types of natural catastrophes have averaged US$90 billion per year, with 78% of those natural catastrophes being weather-related. Meanwhile, 85% of deaths associated with all natural catastrophes over that timescale have occurred in developing countries (Munich Re, 2010).

There is enormous potential to be derived from a partnership-based approach to tackling the climatic risks faced by people and governments around the world. Indeed, several communities affected by climate change are already benefiting from projects that improve risk management and feature insurance elements.