Willis Towers Watson has announced the development of a
global insurance facility aimed at building the resilience of
ecosystems and the communities they support.
The Global Ecosystem Resilience Facility (GERF) was launched
Friday at the Economist’s World Ocean Summit in Mexico by
Willis Towers Watson CEO John Haley.
With marine ecosystems at risk, the economies in coastal
communities in developing and emerging countries are harmed
by damage to natural capital like coral, mangroves and fisheries.
Global climate change also threatens the lives and livelihoods of
residents of those communities as storms grow more intense
and sea levels rise.
According to Willis Towers Watson, the GERF will respond to
these risks by delivering powerful analytics, incentivizing
environmental stewardship and providing insurance protection.
The initial work of the GERF will focus on the protection of
ecosystems like coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses in the
Willis Towers Watson has also partnered with Cefas and the
University of York to map marine ecosystems, assess risk
exposure and develop risk and value models for coral reefs in
Grenada and the wider Caribbean. That will allow insurance
programs to be structured to encourage risk understanding,
assessment, and coordination and pre-planning to allow swift
“The Global Ecosystem Resilience Facility is such an important
initiative in helping to support the resilience of coastal and island
communities to climate pressures,” Willis Towers Watson CEO
John Haley said. “Dependence on the blue economy makes them
particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate-related threats
and other risks, and the goal of this ground-breaking initiative is
to help provide greater stability, and ultimately greater prosperity,
to these communities.”
“The GERF acknowledges that there are two key aspects driving
changes in the risk environment – human activity and natural
processes,” said Rowan Douglas, CEO of Willis Towers Watson’s
capital, science and policy practice. “The facility addresses both
aspects; communities build resilience through sustainable
practices under their control, and disaster risk finance protects
against events outside their control.”