A Caribbean insurance consortium created to provide immediate relief to member countries has said Hurricane Irma has so far caused close to US$16 million in insurance payouts to Caribbean islands.
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility believes that figure may rise. The payouts are as a result of the Tropical Cyclone policies these countries have taken with the CCRIF, which "was designed as a regional catastrophe fund for Caribbean governments to limit the financial impact of devastating hurricanes and earthquakes by quickly providing financial liquidity when a policy is triggered."
The payments will be issued within 14 days of the hurricane, and the CCRIF is currently working with the insured regional governments to make the necessary payments. The company estimates the damage to Antigua and Barbuda at US$6,795,000; Anguilla at US$6,529,000 and St. Kitts & Nevis at US$ 2,295,000. The total figure in premium payouts is US$15,619,000.
The cost of Irma to the Caribbean is very high. Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne believes the hurricane caused US$100 million in damages to Barbuda. If his figure is accurate the insurance payout is a mere drop in the bucket.
Commenting in the wake of Hurricane Irma, CEO Isaac Anthony said, "The CCRIF Board and team offer condolences for the loss of life and hope these funds will provide some assistance. We stand ready to support the government and people of these CCRIF countries as they recover from the effects of this devastating hurricane.”
CCRIF also has Excess Rainfall policies. It is currently checking to see if Anguilla and St. Kitts & Nevis, two countries that invested in the policy, are entitled to additional payouts as a result of the increased rainfall caused by Hurricane Irma. It will release a response on the issue later this week.
The 10-year-old company has made 22 payouts on its hurricane insurance policy since it was formed. In 2016 CCRIF paid a total of US $22 million dollars to four countries affected by Hurricane Matthew, according to its website.
Additional funds for various affected countries in the region are available through the Caribbean Development Bank. The CDB has made a grant of US$150,000 available through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. An additional US$200,000 Emergency Response Grant is also available but will be released after damage assessments by the agency.
The Caribbean Development Fund has advised that it has a US$100,000 Disaster Facility available and that more funds may be available if needed.
The Caribbean was also hit by Hurricane Jose which followed a very similar path to Irma, with only a few days separating them. It is then possible that CCRIF may find itself having to increase its payments to the insured either under its Tropical Cyclone or its Excess Rainfall policies.