Evaluating the Resilience Impact of Climate Insurance (ERICI)

Applying subjective approaches to the innovative analysis of a difficult question

In 2015 the G7 leaders launched the InsuResilience initiative, with a unique mandate to extend climate insurance to 400 million highly exposed, uninsured poor and vulnerable people by 2020. This is an increasingly relevant aim, as climate change is exacerbating the existing weather-related disaster risks in low middle income countries, and typically less than 1% of the losses due to natural catastrophes in such countries are covered by insurance.

Whilst some studies suggest that insurance programmes can improve the financial outcomes and productivity choices of those insured, the evidence is sparse and the risk remains that insurance could actually decrease resilience where it is poorly designed and/or misunderstood by the policy holders. 

From summer 2017-2020, the ERICI project at the Grantham Research Institute (GRI) will work alongside the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) and in contact with the G7’InsuResilience to develop demand-led resilience metrics that can be used for evaluation of insurance schemes. An important part of this work will be focusing on the added value of subjective approaches to resilience assessment, alongside the more traditional objective measures. We are specifically interested in the added value that subjective measures of resilience can bring to our existing understanding of resilience, its relationship to well-being, and our ability to monitor changes in resilience in response to insurance interventions at the micro-level.  These metrics will be developed through and applied in practical settings through longitudinal cohort studies of communities in one African and one Asian country. The project offers a truly interdisciplinary approach, exploring how insurance products can improve climate resilience, defined as ‘making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events (both natural and manmade) and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses’ (Rockefeller Foundation, 2016). To do this we combine GRI’s  academic expertise in insurance (Swenja Surminski),and  psychology & resilience measurement (Abbie Clare)) with MCII’s policy perspective and extensive climate insurance stakeholder networks. The outcomes will include academic journal papers, policy briefs, the publication of an insurance-specific resilience assessment metric, and workshops for interested stakeholders to initially shape and subsequently learn from our work.   



Swenja Surminski

Swenja is a Senior Research Fellow at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is Programme Leader for the ‘climate risk, insurance and private sector’ work-stream at the institute, overseeing research projects from a multi-disciplinary field. Her research focuses on climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction with a special interest in the role of the private sector. The geographic scope of her works spans from the United Kingdom across the European Union to developing countries.

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Abbie Clare

Abbie Clare

Abbie is a post-doctoral researcher at at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, part of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).  She has a background in sustainable development, psychology and climate resilience metric development, and conducts applied research in rural communities around the world.

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Component A

  • Perspective paper planned on monitoring and evaluation of insurance in the context of climate adaptation including MCII and GRI colleagues and workshop in November 2019 
  • FinScope Data Analysis: The ERICI team is currently analysing the results of a set of financial inclusion surveys conducted by Finscope/Fin Mark Trust, in collaboration with UNCDF. We were granted access to this dataset which pools data from over 60,000 households spanning 16 developing countries in Africa and Asia over a timeframe of 7 years. It is one of the most comprehensive demand side dataset on financial inclusion and includes a range of statistics on the use of insurance, which we are currently investigating in the context of our climate resilience assessment.  An academic paper is currently being drafted, UNCDF will be publishing a policy brief and we are likely to jointly host a workshop to discuss findings in London in 2020. 
  • A paper is being developed on slow-onset climate impacts and managed retreat in India and implications for existing financial instruments, started by Dr Panda in 2019. This will be submitted to UNFCCC special issue on slow-onset events in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability special issue on “Slow Onset Events related to Climate Change” 
  • Engagement with wider survey partners (FAO, MCII) is ongoing. Results will be analyised and surveys will incorporate subjective resilience questions. 
  • LSE MSc thesis completed on climate insurance and resilience, supervised by Dr Surminski. 
  • Dr Panda will be invited to deliver training session on crop insurance to ADB staff, following collaboration on ADB paper earlier this year. Training is due to take place in Bangkok, November 2019. 

Component B

  • A presentation was given at WOTR climate change conference in October 2018. 
  • A workshop report was published following on from a one day stakeholder workshop which took place in Pune, India.
  • An insurance paper with ADB (Surminski Panda) was presented and delivered at the Asian Development Outlook.
  • Initial Survey findings were presented at the Loss and Damage Conference at Lund, Sweden, in November 2019.
  • Further academic papers will be published in 2020 on Monitorting and Evaluation of crop insurance in India including empirical insights from surveys. 
  • Survey findings will be presented at the Adaptation Futures conference in Delhi, India, March 2020