UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
story highlights

In conjunction with the Ocean Risk Summit, XL Catlin and their collaborators released two reports on ocean risks.

‘Ocean connections’ focuses on rising risks from a warming, changing ocean.

‘Ocean Risk and the Insurance Industry’ examines how the global insurance sector needs to prepare for the impacts of ocean change.

9 May 2018: Two publications, supported by XL Catlin and launched during the Ocean Risk Summit, introduce risks related to a warming, changing ocean and make recommendations for the insurance industry to address the impacts of ocean change.

‘Ocean Connections: An Introduction to Rising Risks from a Warming, Changing Ocean,’ co-authored by Dan Laffoley and John Baxter, under the aegis of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), describes ocean hazards and risks. It brings together language used by the insurance company for risk with the science and conservation community’s understanding of the nature, intensity and scale of ocean change. The report presents five case studies on the impacts of ocean warming on society: weather and storm events; human health and diseases; harmful algal blooms; coral bleaching; and food security via fisheries and aquaculture. The publication also addresses financial impacts, ocean risk scenario planning, ocean risk action at local levels, and policy integration and action.

‘Ocean Risk and the Insurance Industry,’ written by Falk Niehörster and Richard Murnane, assesses how the global insurance sector needs to equip itself for the far-reaching impacts of ocean change. The report aims to raise awareness of the role of the insurance industry in managing emerging ocean threats, seizing opportunities, and helping to make the industry, the economy and society more resilient and responsive to ocean change. The report underscores the role of the ocean and its ecosystem services in the blue economy, noting it represents a “significant business opportunity for the insurance industry” but also poses potential risks related to: property and causality insurance lines; changing loss potential in insurance lines, such as health and aquafarming; and an implied asset risk. Main findings include: ecological regime shifts as a result of ocean warming and anthropogenic stressors; the potential for ocean risk to trigger catastrophic consequences; and the need for the insurance industry to acknowledge changes in ocean risks and to review and revise current strategies.

Life above the surface of the ocean depends on the quality of the life beneath it.

In the press conference, José María Figueres, former President of Costa Rica and Founder of Ocean Unite, stressed that life above the surface of the ocean depends on the quality of the life beneath it, noting that “the ocean is the kidney of the planet,” purifying and facilitating life. Charles Cooper, Chief Executive, Reinsurance, XL Catlin, emphasized the private sector’s responsibility to help build resilience and develop solutions, while providing a clear understanding of what ocean risk entails.

Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director, Global Marine and Polar Programme, IUCN, underscored the invaluable, stabilizing role of the ocean, including excess heat absorption, and highlighted the publication of 12 IUCN briefing notes addressing the effects of ocean warming on: the weather; seabirds; marine phytoplankton and harmful algal blooms; the contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to global food security; human health; sea levels and the consequences for ecosystems and society; mangrove species and ecosystems; plankton; pelagic tunas; coral reefs; Antarctic ecosystems and species; and the protection of coasts by habitat-forming species. Falk Niehörster, Director, Climate Risk Innovations, discussed: the ocean and its role in the climate system and the blue economy; impacts of ocean warming and associated changes in marine ecosystems; modelling ocean risk; and providing solutions, including via multilateral environmental agreements and partnerships.

The Ocean Risk Summit is taking place in Bermuda, from 8-10 May 2018, under the theme ‘Reducing Risk from a Changing Ocean.’ The Summit is expected to examine the risks posed by ocean change, identifying and considering new approaches, tools, and technologies to build resilience and mitigate negative impacts. XL Catlin is a global insurance and re-insurance company headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, with over 100 offices. [IISD RS Coverage of Ocean Risk Summit] [Publication: Ocean Connections] [Publication: Ocean Risk and the Insurance Industry]

related events