Jamaica’s experience of TS Nicole highlights need for CCRIF rainfall insurance policy

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Once again the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) has hit the headlines because a tropical storm has failed to trigger a payout from the disaster facility despite high levels of destruction and losses. Tropical storm Nicole caused heavy damage on Jamaica due to heavy rainfall but as it didn’t reach hurricane status Jamaica won’t qualify for any payout from the facility.

At a press conference on the 28th September the Jamaican Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, said; “The intensity of the rainfall that we are having appears to be even more rainfall than we have had with some hurricanes that have hit us, and the damage is going to be extensive, but because it’s not a hurricane, we are not able to claim under our catastrophic insurance fund, for which we have to pay significant premiums each year.”

Of course no one is to blame for this, the CCRIF is currently designed to provide quick payouts for hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean nations to help them recover from disasters. It’s providing a valuable service which has been proven to work in the cases of the earthquake in Haiti and the recent payout to Anguilla for damage caused by hurricane Earl. It isn’t currently designed to cover heavy rainfall, however that is coming soon and the CCRIF have been working on a rainfall insurance cover which will enable them to help countries recover from the impact of less severe storms as well as those of hurricane strength.

Jamaica’s experience of tropical storm Nicole is just another example of how needed this rainfall facility is. We hear the the CCRIF hopes to have a rainfall product ready by year end (although previous reports had suggested it would have been ready by early 2010).

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