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The Nature Conservancy looks to reef policy for US coastal areas


The Nature Conservancy on Tuesday said it is looking to potentially expand an innovative coral reef insurance policy in Mexico to Florida and Hawaii, with a view to having an insurance policy in place by 2022.

Bank of America Corp. has provided an additional $1 million grant to fund the research by scientists that will identify where coral reef insurance and improved reef management could bring cost-effective relief to coastal flooding and other storm-related risks in Florida and Hawaii, The Nature Conservancy said in a statement.

The move comes after a parametric insurance policy covering hurricane-related damage to reefs in coastal areas of Mexico was secured last year.

“We are scoping out feasibility for the insurance in Florida and Hawaii,” said a spokeswoman for the Arlington, Virginia-based conservancy.

Once the initial research is complete, the conservancy said it will work with partners to “identify the best funding mechanisms to finance improved reef management and insurance premiums,” and to “assess the type of insurance that would be most applicable in each state.”

The aim is to have an insurance policy in place by 2022, if it proves feasible, the conservancy said.

The conservancy worked with reinsurer Swiss Re Ltd. to explore the possibility of insuring the Mesoamerican Reef and determined that a parametric insurance policy — designed to pay out quickly for repairs and restoration in the event of a major hurricane or storm — was the most suitable solution for the conditions on the Mexican Caribbean coast.

The reefs of Hawaii and Florida provide both states with protection valued at over $1.5 billion annually to property and economic activity, the conservancy said.

“By working with partners like The Nature Conservancy, we are able to support the development and implementation of innovative solutions to climate resiliency, water security, conservation and other environmental challenges,” said Andrew Plepler, global head of environmental, social and governance at Bank of America.