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McGavick: insurers can combat climate risks

The head of XL Catlin has backed a bid to reduce the risk of disasters due to climate change.

Mike McGavick, who is also the chairman of the board of international insurance industry body the Geneva Association, told a major Paris conference on climate change that the insurers and reinsurers were behind the proposed “anticipate, absorb and reshape” (A2R) framework to combat risk from changing weather patterns.

Mr McGavick was speaking on behalf of the International Insurance Society and the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation at the Conference of the Parties, an annual forum to address climate change on a global level.

He told delegates: “I am pleased to be able to highlight our industry's enthusiasm for the potential of the A2R framework.

“As we work urgently to prepare the world's people for the impacts of climate change, it is obvious that much of the resilience work ahead is right in our industry's wheelhouse.

“Today, far too few of the world's people benefit the resilience offered by risk sharing and transfer schemes.

“Our industry funds scientific research and works with governments to adopt advanced building codes and land use practices.

“Our products increasingly replace failing infrastructure with sustainable solutions, including efforts to use natural ecosystems where man-made weather defences fall short.

“We also create products to accelerate the financial viability of alternative energy.

“I offer my personal commitment to work with you to ensure that the best of what our industry can offer is brought forward.”

And he added that the insurance industry will join policymakers in the launch of a drive to reduce the impact of natural disasters and climate change in emerging markets.

The new initiative, to be co-chaired by XL Catlin executive deputy chairman Stephen Catlin, will be called the Insurance Development Forum.

And eight Lloyd's of London syndicates, including XL Catlin's, have joined forces in a $400 million bid to develop new ways to help developing economies tackle underinsurance and improve their defences against the economic impact of natural catastrophes.

Tom Hutton, the managing partner and director of XL Innovate, an XL Group-sponsored venture capital initiative, will take part in a conference panel discussion tomorrow on investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

XL Catlin's head of aquaculture Geir Myre will be part of a panel discussion on ocean warming and other climate stresses on the same day, while XL Catlin will host an “Evening for the Ocean” event on Saturday focused on Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the future of reef systems worldwide, which will feature nature broadcaster and writer Sir David Attenborough and businessman and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson, as well as Mr Catlin.

The news came as US president Barack Obama announced that the country will donate $30 million to climate risk insurance schemes in the Pacific, Central America and Africa.

Mr Obama made the announcement at a meeting with leaders of small island nations in Paris yesterday.

The US Department of State said the money was part of a broader set of actions to help vulnerable people become more resilient to climate change.

They include providing climate data, tools and services, and incorporating climate change considerations into development assistance, it added.

The funding will increase insurance coverage to help people cope with severe climate-related problems, Washington said. Those range from intensifying droughts, floods and storms to melting glaciers and rising seas.

The new money will support the Pacific Catastrophic Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative and the African Risk Capacity programme, and expand the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility, of which Bermuda is a member, to cover Central American countries.

XL Catlin CEO Mike McGavick

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Published December 02, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 01, 2015 at 7:14 pm)

McGavick: insurers can combat climate risks

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