24 Jan 2013

Vulnerable Pacific countries to benefit from pilot insurance scheme

1:05 pm on 24 January 2013

The World Bank says it hopes a new pilot insurance programme being tested in some Pacific countries can be expanded.

Last week, the bank, with the help of the Japanese Government and the Secretariat of Pacific Communities, launched the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot, which will allow governments to respond more quickly to a natural disaster.

The countries taking part are Tonga, Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The pilot's co-ordinator, the World Bank's Olivier Mahul, says the pilot only covers earthquakes, tsunamis and cyclones, but he hopes the initiative will be successful enough to include other events and countries.

"We all know that flooding is also another disaster in the region, like what is happening right now in Fiji, so we could also expand the coverage to new areas in the future."

Olivier Mahul says the pilot still has another two years to go before any decision is made.