Recently, the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company (PCRIC) team along with one of its Directors, Mr. Barry Whiteside, met with Fiji’s new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Hon. Professor Biman Chand Prasad.
Accompanying the Finance Minister was Mr. Shiri Gounder, Permanent Secretary of the Fiji Ministry of Finance, and former Chairman of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Foundation Council of Members.
The meeting was held as a courteous gesture to apprise the Hon. Minister of Finance on the role and services provided by PCRIC to the Pacific region. The discussions aimed to solicit the support of the new administration in light of PCRIC’s disaster risk financing instruments designed to bridge Fiji’s financial vulnerabilities in the face of disasters and enhance their resilience against the loss and damages resulting from natural hazards.
Despite Fiji’s inclusion in PCRIC’s risk pool, the country currently lacks a PCRIC insurance policy. PCRIC’s previous engagements with the preceding government were favorable and culminated in the signature of a letter of commitment by the Permanent Secretary towards the end of last year, indicating a commitment to purchase a tropical cyclone policy that would be effective from October 1st, 2023.
In his remarks, the Hon. Minister acknowledged PCRIC’s services to the region and highlighted that as part of the new coalition government’s policies, regional cooperation and unity is important. The Hon. Minister also stated that, “The products being offered by PCRIC are innovative and very welcome. I hope that the region as a whole will see value in these cutting-edge parametric insurance products. I’m optimistic that Fiji will play its part in ensuring that we are part of any groundbreaking solutions to disaster risk financing as it is a significant challenge for us all.”
The Hon. Minister continued by saying that, “The impact of disasters on Pacific Island countries cause a great deal of damages to development and has an immense negative impact on the quality of life on our people. Therefore, any means to address those fundamental impediments would be cordially received.”
PCRIC CEO Mr. Aholotu Palu observed that, “With the fiscal constriants that countries are facing, it is only appropriate that countries access and diversify its disaster risk finance tools to maximise financial returns to support their resilience building efforts and climate change adaptability approaches.”
“We recognise that the COVID pandemic has seriously affected countries’ fiscal affairs, and PCRIC diligently seeks to secure donor resource funding for premium subsidisation when engaging in dialogue with countries in purchasing a policy. Though PCRIC has received €10 million in premium financing from Germany via the World Bank as a Christmas gift in 2021, these vitally necesary donor support funds are still with the World Bank,” he said.
Despite this, PCRIC is maintaining their momentum of regionalism and solidarity, zealously endeavouring to serve the Pacific region through its state-of-the-art products and expert technical capability services.
This is further enhanced with PCRIC’s positioning as one of the world’s four (4) regional risk pools (along with African Risk Capacity Ltd. – Africa, CCRIF SPC – Caribbean, SEADRIF Insurance Company – Southeast Asia) and along with the welcoming news of the introduction of the loss and damage initiative announced during COP27 in Egypt last year.
PCRIC is optimistic that following their meeting with the Finance Minister and the favourable response received, other Pacific nations will also be inspired to adopt similar measures in order to protect their citizens and properties/assets from the impacts of disasters.