Last week, the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company (PCRIC) team along with Dr. Simon Young, co-head of the Disaster Risk Finance and Parametrics team in the Climate and Resilience Hub at Willis Towers Watson (WTW), paid a courtesy call to Tonga’s newly appointed Finance Minister, Hon. Tiofilusi Tiueti. Also in attendance was the Deputy CEO of the Ministry, Ms. Saane Lolo.
WTW are currently working with PCRIC and Pacific Island countries and territories in developing a parametric drought insurance product for the region, including Tonga, as well as providing other technical and broader strategic advisory support. While there, the team also thanked the Minister for his participation and support at the recent Council of Members Meeting in Washington DC.
As part of their discussions, the team highlighted PCRIC’s product and services offered to the region, their recent regional engagements (e.g., at the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Brisbane, Australia), coordination of activities planned for the upcoming climate conference in Egypt, ongoing development of new drought and rainfall products, potential business areas in transitioning to a segregated cell company to offer services beyond sovereign governments, and the highly anticipated German funds for country premium financing for new products that are still being held by the World Bank.
The team further explained to the Minister that Tonga’s premium financing for International Development Association (IDA) 19 is secured for the 2022/2023 season. However, for the 2023/2024 season, there is a need to consider premium financing under its IDA 20 program funding while awaiting the release of the German funding which will be provided to subsidize the new products expected to roll out early next year.
In the end, the Minister was appreciative of the team’s presence and the highly productive outcomes of their meeting. With the opening of borders post-COVID, the PCRIC team are now preparing to travel to Samoa, Kiribati and the Republic of the Marshall Islands as deep-engagement efforts further ramp up to assist Pacific Island nations in their preparation for natural disasters. Plans are already in place to continue this regional engagement with other countries early next year.