Insurance for Natural Perils – A Solution for Nepal?
The government of Nepal recently conducted its annual RISK2RESILIENCE conference with the theme: International Conference on Experience of Earthquake Risk Management, Preparedness and Reconstruction in Nepal. The event, held from 18-20 June in Kathmandu, was jointly organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and National Society for Earthquake Technology - Nepal (NSET).
The conference gathered some 240 people comprised of 40 international professionals from 13 different countries and about 200 individuals composed of government officials, DRR experts, practitioners and academia who participated and shared their ideas and views as speakers, presenters and panelists. The event aimed to critically look back at what has been collectively done on Earthquake Risk Reduction and Preparedness in Nepal in the past decades in light of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake; to critically examine the experience as well as the progress of Earthquake Reconstruction to date; and to help set the Way Forward in the Long Journey of Disaster Risk Management in Nepal.
Anselm Smolka, GEM Special Advisor and former Secretary General, participated in the event presenting his insights on how insurance can help Nepal cope with natural perils in the future under the ‘Setting the Future’ keynote session. He also emphasized GEM’s work in promoting earthquake resilience worldwide through high quality open tools and open data. Anselm believes that given the large insurance gap demonstrated by the Gorkha earthquake and Terai Floods, Nepal presents a typical case for non-traditional insurance products.
He recommended several options such as microinsurance for rural areas and insurance pool for urban regions. Microinsurance would cover poor or moderately poor people, while insurance pool would cover those residing in the cities and urbanized areas. Anselm added that the end goal of these non-traditional insurance products is disaster relief and recovery. On the last day, Mr. Prem Kumar Rai, Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs remarked that, "This 3-day International Conference has come up with important conclusions and way forward for the country to lessen the adverse impacts of disasters in Nepal based on lessons from the past. I assure you all that the Nepal Government highly acknowledges all these recommendations." (source: NSET)
The Risk2Resilience Conference culminated with the approval of the Conference Resolution recommendations endorsed by the participants on how to move forward with Earthquake Risk Management, Preparedness and Reconstruction in Nepal. The resolution can be downloaded here.