3 Aug 2011

Regional approach to disaster insurance mooted at Pacific conference

1:37 pm on 3 August 2011

The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum says insurance against natural disasters might be possible on a regional scale if member countries wanted it.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade says disasters, like the 2009 earthquake and tsunami that impacted on Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, had very costly outcomes for those countries.

He also says islands that are highly susceptible to cyclone damage are also highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

He told delegates at the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management in Auckland of the importance of being better prepared.

"It cost 150, 300 million perhaps for some of these countries. That's an awful lot of money. And clearly they cannot do it alone. Often communities do not have insurance schemes and I doubt very much that many governments can arrange insurance coverage of that sort of magnitude. So yes I think this is a meeting where you can usefully look at the possiblity of some insurance arrangement if possible, but it could only be done on a regional basis."

Tuiloma Neroni Slade.

This week's meeting is considering a roadmap for the region in the event of a disaster.