Broker Howden has partnered with global reinsurer Munich Re and Skyline Partners, a private-equity funded UK insurtech, to develop a parametric insurance solution designed to protect farmers in Jamaica from extreme weather events.
With farming being the main the source of income for roughly 18% of the Jamaican population, adverse weather events can have an extremely detrimental impact on livelihoods.
The Caribbean has low insurance penetration rates and is experiencing increasingly frequent and severe weather events, which is testing the region’s financial systems.
In an effort to stabilise this and alleviate some of the pain, Howden, Munich Re and Skyline have developed a new parametric product that protects the Jamaican Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) against non-repayment of micro-loans from farmers in the event of extreme weather.
Reportedly, the JCCUL is used for loans by a significant 100,000 smallholder farmers in the country, and is leveraged to pay for essentials such as seeds, day-old chicks, and farming equipment.
However, adverse weather events could mean that a farmer is unable to repay their loan, which in turn puts the JCCUL’s ability to continue to offer vital financial support at risk.
Specifically, the parametric insurance solution will replace lost funds as a result of farmers defaulting on their loans in the event of an extreme hurricane.
Robin Levy, Group CEO for JCCUL, commented: “If farmers can’t afford to repay their loans, our ability to remain operational is put at risk. Without loans from credit unions, many farmers in Jamaica simply would not be able to afford to operate. This coverage helps to smooth out that volatility and provides them the confidence to continue to deliver the essential financial support that so many people rely upon to make a living.”
David Flandro, Head of Analytics, Howden, said: “Globally, we’re seeing an exponential increase in weather-related events versus other non-climate perils. Storms in the Caribbean are becoming more powerful, with increased rainfall and higher storm surge, and Jamaica has one of the highest physical exposures to tropical cyclones in the region.”
In order to support the growth of the new proof of concept solution, which has the potential to increase the resilience of communities most exposed to extreme weather events, Howden has contributed to the premium for the first year.
The companies state that this is part of a broader agenda to unlock private capital, including donations from individuals, corporates, and foundations, to help fund solutions for those with limited access to traditional insurance products.
Laurent Sabatié and Gethin Jones, Co-Founders and Executive Directors, Skyline, said: “This product demonstrates the potential for parametric insurance to take on risk challenges that don’t lend themselves to traditional insurance cover. We look forward to expanding this concept as we work with financial institutions to increase resilience against climate change and natural disasters by combining insurance innovation with technology.”
Charlie Langdale, Head of Climate Risk and Resilience, Howden, added: “Climate change is causing huge changes in the type and scale of risks, especially for developing nations that are both facing the most severe effects, and are least protected by insurance.
“We’re starting to see insurance being used in scenarios that it never would have been 5 years ago. By asking the right questions about the risks that people, organisations and nations are facing today, and pushing the boundaries of insurability, the insurance industry has the potential to truly face up to the challenges of climate change and protect those who are most exposed.”