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World - Insurance Solutions Can Help to Restore Mangroves as Natural Coastal Defences

Insurance could cost-effectively help protect and restore mangrove forests, which can offer increased resilience and protect against coastal flooding, according to a report published today by The Nature Conservancy and University of California, Santa Cruz, and supported by AXA XL.

The report, Reducing Caribbean Risk: Opportunities for Cost-Effective Mangrove Restoration and Insurance, identifies 3,000 km of coastline across 20 states, territories and countries in the Caribbean region where post-storm mangrove restoration, which could be paid for by insurance and other mechanisms, would provide flood protection benefits that significantly outweigh the cost of mangrove rehabilitation. It adds that although the U.S. and the Bahamas have the most robust insurance markets, mangrove forests' protective benefits are also significant in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica due to their high population densities.

Globally, mangroves protect 15 million people from flooding and also reduce flood damages by US$65 billion every year. The first 100 meters of mangroves forests can be particularly critical, as they can lower wave heights by as much as 66%.

The uncertainty around the frequency and severity of tropical cyclones combined with rising sea-levels threaten coastal communities globally. Integrating nature-based solutions alongside more traditional coastal defences is seen as a critical component of disaster risk management and climate adaptation.

The report suggests that a parametric insurance policy based on wind speed is most feasible and could be paired with a traditional indemnity policy to cover both short-term and longer-term restoration actions. The funding source(s) and beneficiaries of the programme, whether public or private bodies, will significantly influence how a mangrove insurance scheme is structured.

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