CCRIF and partners launch Ivan+20

Source(s): Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, the

CCRIF SPC, in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Government, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and The University of the West Indies (UWI), launched Ivan+20 in Grand Cayman, under the theme: Ivan+20: Remembering the Past, Reflecting on the Present, and Visioning for the Future: 20 Years Since Ivan... Resilience, Adaptation, Sustainability in Caribbean SIDS.

The Ivan+20 Initiative is being spearheaded by CCRIF in collaboration with Caribbean governments and regional organizations to collectively restate our commitments to ensuring that we never forget, and adopt the lessons learned from Hurricane Ivan, push forward, take charge, and create the resilient and sustainable future we want. Ivan+20 will include a year-long series of events and engage Caribbean governments, regional organizations, academic institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, youth and children as well as the general public.

Ivan+20 will celebrate the Caribbean region’s progress with respect to comprehensive disaster risk management (CDRM) and create the enabling environment for us to collectively vision for the sustainable and resilient future we want to create in the next 20 years. As Isaac Anthony, CCRIF CEO pointed out at the launch, “We are not here to celebrate Ivan, but to celebrate the collective action and the collective will that came out of Ivan. It is about remembering the past and imagining the future as one Caribbean – a set of small island and coastal developing states anticipating changes and building resilience, securing a sustainable future for its peoples and creating a best practice example for other islands and coastal states globally.”

The Ivan+20 concept is therefore much more than a remembrance of Hurricane Ivan which in 2004, devastated 9 countries in the Caribbean, causing loss of life, destruction of houses and communities, homelessness, damage to infrastructure – including electric utilities transmission and distribution systems, and resulting in regional losses of over US$6 billion.

CCRIF is a by-product of Hurricane Ivan: CCRIF as an organization and the introduction of parametric insurance in the Caribbean were born out of Ivan. Following Hurricane Ivan, CARICOM Heads of Government approached the World Bank for assistance to design and implement a cost-effective catastrophe risk financing mechanism for its member governments that would enable them to access quick liquidity following a natural disaster. The analyses concluded that parametric insurance would be the most suitable disaster risk financing instrument to address this need for quick liquidity and allow governments to meet their most immediate needs following a disaster, including providing support for the vulnerable in their populations. CCRIF was therefore not designed to cover all losses on the ground but to fill the liquidity gap, which occurs long before resources for long-term reconstruction and redevelopment can be accessed. Since CCRIF’s inception in 2007, the Facility has made 64 payouts, totalling US$268 million to 17 of its 26 members, all within 14 days of an event.

CCRIF Chairman Timothy Antoine informed those in attendance that CCRIF was a solution not only for the Caribbean but “we have also extended our impact to Central America and since 2015 we have continued to grow the membership in Central America. More than that, we have inspired other regions in the world - Africa, the Pacific, and more recently Southeast Asia have all modelled themselves on CCRIF SPC. I make these points simply to show the legacy of Hurricane Ivan in the Caribbean and beyond the Caribbean.” CCRIF is the world’s first multi-country, multi-peril risk pool based on parametric insurance.

The launch of Ivan+20 was hosted in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Government as CCRIF is a captive insurance company domiciled in the Cayman Islands. It was also equally fitting that the Ivan+20 launch took place there, as the Cayman Islands was one of the most severely affected countries along with Grenada – with both countries suffering losses that amounted to almost 200 per cent of their 2003 gross domestic product (GDP).

Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, Cayman Islands Premier, and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Education, District Administration & Lands and Cabinet Office and Mr. Michael Nixon, Senior Assistant Financial Secretary led the Government’s presence at the launch. Mr. Nixon recalled that Ivan was an unforgettable and devastating experience for Cayman. He reiterated the value that CCRIF has brought to the region, “We have been a partner with CCRIF from its very creation. We think that CCRIF has done an exemplary job at bringing to countries products that fit the need and that support alleviating some of the financial risk [burdens] associated with disasters. And we continue to work with CCRIF. We are honoured today to be able to stand next to them to launch the Ivan+20 initiative that will take place for the remainder of this year.”

At the launch, CDEMA’s Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Kester Craig indicated that “Hurricane Ivan was a watershed event in the history of disaster management in the region, precipitating not only the establishment of CCRIF, but also a diversity of improvements in CDEMA’s regional response mechanism”. Ivan+20’s year of activities will ultimately culminate with the integration of Ivan+20 into CDEMA’s 13th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management in St. Kitts and Nevis, December 2nd – 6th, 2024.

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Global Affairs at The UWI, Ms. Sandrea Maynard, reiterated the importance of the year-long set of activities, stating that “the significance of commemorating the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Ivan and reflecting on the journey towards resilience is a very important one for the region and the activities, such as the resilience dialogues, sharing best practices and engaging the youth in shaping a resilient future, are poised to be very impactful and engaging” .

Approximately 90 persons attended the launch – in person or virtually. CCRIF welcomed persons from regional partner organizations as well as national agencies in Cayman such as Hazard Management Cayman Islands, the Cayman Islands Weather Service, and Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency and NGOs such as the Red Cross, among others.

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