Haiti to receive US$20-m tropical cyclone insurance payout


A young man walks on a palm tree in front of a house destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, in Croix Marche-a-Terre, in south-west Haiti yesterday. Hurricane Matthew has claimed at least 108 lives in Haiti, Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph told AFP yesterday. (Photo: AFP)

THE CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) announced yesterday that Haiti, where Category Four Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc earlier this week, will receive a payout of some US$20 million to cover damage.

It’s the largest-ever payment by the CCRIF, a regional insurance fund that provides parametric coverage for earthquake, tropical cyclone/hurricane, and excess rainfall catastrophes.

“Based on preliminary calculations, Haiti will receive a little over US$20 million,” CCRIF Chairman Milo Pearson said yesterday at the International Monetary fund/World Bank Group annual meetings now underway in Washington, DC, the United States capital.

Pearson expressed thanks to the Caribbean Development Bank for paying Haiti’s insurance premiums over the last few years in support of that country’s

CCRIF CEO Isaac Anthony, who reportedly had discussion with the Michel Enex Jean-Charles-led Government prior to the announcement, said: “The CCRIF board and team extend our condolence to Haiti on the loss of life, and extend our support to the Government and people of Haiti as they recover from this disaster. We know that the Government welcomes this payment and is looking forward to beginning their recovery efforts.”

The payment will be Haiti’s second from CCRIF, following a disbursement of US$7.7 million in 2010 in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.

That payment represented the first inflow of direct financial assistance received by Haiti at that time, CCRIF said. The fund said, too, that the Haitian Government used the CCRIF funds to cover salaries of key emergency personnel, thereby “keeping the wheels of government turning”.

Matthew made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday at Category Four, killing more 100 people to date and causing significant damage to the southern coast. Haiti Renewal Alliance has reported that the system brought intense rain, wind and wave surges and caused mudslides and flooding. The main bridge that links the capital of Port-au-Prince to southern Haiti has collapsed and areas along the southern coast including Grande Anse, Port-Salut, and Port-à-Piment have been badly hit. Some 1,243,000 people (including 522,000 children) have been affected, and some estimates suggest that four million children will be directly affected.

A United Nations representative to Haiti, Mourad Wahba, called it the country’s largest humanitarian crisis since the earthquake in 2010, which left more than 200,000 dead and tens of thousands living in tents and makeshift dwellings.

Meanwhile, the CCRIF is also preparing to make a payout to Barbados in Hurricane Matthew’s wake. The centre of the storm passed over the eastern Caribbean country on September 28 as a tropical storm, triggering its CCRIF Tropical Cyclone policy. There were reports of fallen trees, isolated flooding, power outages, and water disruption in some parts of the island. Barbados will receive a payout of US$975,000.

Both Barbados and Haiti have excess rainfall policies as well.

Since its inception, in 2007, CCRIF has made a total of 15 payouts to 10 member governments totalling US$38.8 million, all within 14 days of the event. The payout to Haiti will represent the 16th such, taking total payouts up to US$58.8 million.

CCRIF’s parametric insurance products make payments based on the intensity of an event (for example, hurricane wind speed, earthquake intensity, or volume of rainfall) and the amount of loss calculated in a pre-agreed model caused by these events. Parametric insurance enables payouts to be made very quickly after a risk has occured. This is different from traditional insurance settlements that require an on-the-ground assessment of individual losses after an event before a payment can be made.

Jamaica Observer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *