Expert Meeting on Agricultural Insurance and Integrated Risk Management in Central America and the Domincan Republic
The Subregional Headquarters in Mexico of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Executive Secretariat of the Central American Agricultural Council (SE-CAC), Secretary General of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA), Executive Secretariat of Agricultural Sectoral Planning of Costa Rica (SEPSA), and the Costa Rica Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock organized a seminar on agricultural insurance and comprehensive risk management in the subregion. Attendees included delegates from the Grupo Técnico de Cambio Climático y Gestión Integral de Riesgos (GTCCGIR) from CAC, agricultural insurance experts from national institutions, regional and international experts from multilateral organizations, NGO's, and other associations interested in risk management projects in developing countries.
The seminar objectives were:
- Expound on analysis, progress, and lessons learned about recent developments in agricultural insurance products used on the national, regional, and international level that are geared towards micro, small, and medium agricultural producers, emphasizing insurance based on climate indices.
- Analyze, propose, and validate lines of strategy to develop and strengthen agricultural insurance and microinsurance on the national stage, as well as explore opportunities for cooperation among countries in different stages of development on the agenda of agricultural insurance.
-Members of the CAC Climate change and integrated risk management group (GTCCGIR), members of the ministries of agriculture in SICA countries, including SEPSA.
- Authorities of public institutions related to agricultural insurance:
- Costa Rica: INS, IMN, UCR, CNAA, CONARROS.
- El Salvador: BFA
- Guatemala: MAGA y Aseguradora Rural.
- Nicaragua: INISER
- Panama: ISA, ETESA
- Dominican Republic: DIGERA
- Other regional and international institutions associated with agricultural insurance:
- FAO Mesoamerica
- World Bank
- IRI, Columbia University
- CIAT, CGIAR, CCAFS
Conclusions and recommendations:
As a result of the analyses and debates of the experts, the following lines of action were defined to strengthen agricultural insurance in Central America and the Dominican Republic from a comprehensive risk management perspective:
- Advocate for a public strategy on comprehensive risk management founded on natural hazards, vulnerability in rural areas, and the risk exacerbation because of climate change. This strategy should be accompanied by a program that includes projects oriented towards studying vulnerability in rural areas to make it more apparent and optimize resources used to reduce it.
- Encourage the development of risk retention and transfer instruments from the macro level to insure against disasters – minimizing fiscal contingencies – as well as comprehensive risk reduction programs at the micro level, protect the livelihoods of the population, including full and accessible insurance programs against the effects derived from climate change and variability.
- Implement policies that support small and micro producers in the development of agriculture that is both sustainable and climate adapted, and measures to strengthen their livelihoods, incomes, and development opportunities.
- Strengthen actions to prevent risk in the activities carried out by small and micro producers, as well as support to this demographic in emergency situations.
- Incorporate elements of financial assessment with regard to the variable of risk in the design of rural public infrastructure projects starting at the profile state, to ensure that new projects can sustain identified hazards in their area throughout their useful life.
- Promote the development and governance arrangements of national and regional public goods and services supporting comprehensive risk management and sustainable adaptation to climate change in the rural and agricultural sectors, to achieve the greatest possible access to information for producers and public institutions needed for the design of risk management and transfer instruments such as agricultural insurance.
- Make agricultural insurance part of a comprehensive packet of services that meet the needs of small and micro agricultural producers, oriented towards protecting their means and standard of living, as well as their adaptations to climate change and reducing they various risks they face. In addition to general and agricultural insurance, services such as expansion, training, education, organizational development, decision making, titling, processing, marketing, and access to financial services such as credit, deposits, storage, guarantees, and securities.
- Encourage the participation of small and micro producers and their organizations in the design and management of the previously stated packages so as to ensure that they contribute to the strengthening of their own capabilities.
- Strengthen regulatory scope and supervision to promote conventional and/or parametric agricultural insurance and microinsurance, authorizing their distribution through public and/or private entities, including the possibility of associating them with other general insurance plans such as life or health insurance, as well as other financial innovations.
- Involve regulators and supervisors from finance and insurance institutions in the initial design and implementation of agricultural insurance and microinsurance such as to facilitate their authorization, validity, and dissemination among small agricultural producers.
- Involve international reinsurance agencies in the initial design and implementation of agricultural insurance and microinsurance such as to mitigate losses caused by disaster events.
- Involve finance ministers in the design of options to strengthen financial protection mechanisms such as agricultural insurance, but also including others such as standby loans, catastrophe payouts or insurance, and stabilization funds.
- Create an Agricultural Insurance Committee (CSA) or equivalent body, to develop the “value chain for general and agricultural insurance, and related services on the national stage”. The CSA would be made up of representatives from agricultural producers, insurance institutions, reinsurance agencies, public institutions such as the ministries of agriculture or the treasury, institutions that regulate and supervise the insurance business, and those with the needed technical capabilities such as meteorology, research, and agricultural development institutions, among others.
- Promote the services of private insurance companies for medium and large producers with the purpose of ensuring coverage and the universality of these services.
- Strengthen information systems related to agricultural and rural development, that include economic, social, demographic, geographic, climate, and meteorological aspects, and effects attributable to extreme event vulnerability, that would make up the basis for reducing related uncertainty, and contribute to decision-making, and the development of sensible policies for the sector, small producers and agricultural insurance and microinsurance.
- Take advantage of and adapt information and communication technology to facilitate the capture, transmission, and interconnection of agroclimate data and generate knowledge of climate and other hazards, including the dissemination of early warning systems, so that they may be part of the development of comprehensive services and reduce risk.
- Promote the creation of agricultural insurance design, renovation, and implementation teams, that have members of different backgrounds (such as agronomy, agrometeorology, statistics, actuarial services, economics, among others) and develop an ability to work in a multidisciplinary and cross-institutional manner.
- Strengthen local and national capabilities of current and new professionals through the creation of technical university degrees, and short and medium-term training on comprehensive risk management, and the implementation of agricultural insurance instruments.
- Launch processes to strengthen the capabilities of small and medium-sized producers to encourage an agricultural insurance and comprehensive risk management culture, involving them starting at the design stage.
- Establish forums for exchange and cooperation initiatives among SICA countries about comprehensive risk management for small and micro agricultural producers, including agricultural insurance.
- Establish exchange channels with other regional and global initiatives to design integrated services, including insurance, to reduce risk and improve the livelihoods of small agricultural producers.
- Develop a financing strategy through international cooperation on the topic of climate change, and development under the scope of the SDFs that could complement national and regional initiatives on this topic.