The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Company, CCRIF SPC today signed a grant agreement with the Government of Belize. That Agreement provides GOB with 100,000 dollars to purchase forty to fifty automatic weather stations that will provide the meteorological service of Belize with access to real time rainfall data. The agreement was signed by representatives of the Ministry of Finance, the Met Service of Belize and CCRIF SPC today when the CCRIF broke from its quarterly board meeting being held for the first time in Belize. Belize joined CCRIF since it was formed in 2007 to provide insurance to member states for catastrophes like earthquakes tropical cyclones and recently rainfall. CCRIF CEO Isaac Anthony says Belize has been benefiting from its membership over the past ten years assisting the Belize Government in providing swift aid during catastrophes, as echoed by Yvette Alvarez who represented the Ministry of Finance in today’s agreement signing.
“The MET office has indicated that this will significantly improve the Government’s ability to monitor, record and forecast rainfall within Belize and better prepare the country for hydromet events. Over the past ten years we have had a fruitful relationship with the Government of Belize which has been a CRIF member since its inception and has purchased insurance policies for each year. We are pleased that for the first time Belize purchased an excess rainfall policy last year. This was timely as the policy was triggered by rains associated with Hurricane Earl last year.”
“As people who sit in the Ministry of Finance who have to find the funds to deal with all that happens after a hurricane those funds, though small, were welcomed. We’ve never collected under the Tropical Cyclone part of the policy but we are convinced that it is a policy that we would want to renew on a continuing basis and we continue the dialogue with CRIF as we look into other products that they are exploring. We have benefitted in a very significant way from the relationships that we’ve established with CRIF. Mr.Pearson has elaborated on those scholarships, those trainings in particular that the MET office has received we want to say thanks. It has benefitted us as far as capacity building is concerned and this grant agreement that we are going to be signing this afternoon is another step in that direction.”
Belize has purchased insurance for tropical cyclones and excess rainfall ranging between 450 thousand to 600 thousand US dollars. Last year, Belize received 261, 000 dollars after hurricane Earl. As the CCRIF has been providing parametric insurance over the past ten years, it has made 22 payouts to member governments to the tune of over 69 million dollars, reducing the burdens on state finances. In 2010 CCRIF helped the Belize met service to build its capacity to deliver better service by providing scholarships to two persons, Michelle Smith and Shania young to complete a bachelor’s degree in meteorology and later on Young was later awarded a second scholarship by CCRIF for a master’s degree in applied meteorology. CCRIF is now working on developing a product for drought and the fishery sector. Belize is one of three countries to take part in a pilot project through which they hope to provide additional support to farmers and fishers under a micro insurance project.
“Also we hope to be able to extend parametric insurance coverage to farmers and fishers and our micro insurance project that provides what is known as the livelihood protection policy to individuals for protection against weather events. We will be working with the government to launch these products in Belize later this year. We should or would like to recognize the Munich Climate Insurance initiative and the United States State Department for their roles in bringing these products to market. Also later this year stakeholders from the Ministry of Finance, the MET service and the disaster management agency will be able to participate in a two day training course titled “Understanding Disaster Financing, CRIF Parametric Polices and the relationship with fiscal and economic policy.”
CCRIF has a membership of sixteen Caribbean members and Nicaragua in Central America. Also present at the signing today were Chief Meteorologist Catherine Cumberbatch and Derrick Rudon.