Floods have pounded the region with devastating consequences. Lives have been lost, communities displaced, livestock and crops decimated. The floods will have enduring effects on the economy and citizenry.
Forecasts for positive growth in 2019 were pegged on improved agricultural production due to suitable weather, high tourist numbers and growth of the manufacturing sector.
Changing weather patterns have a way of disrupting gains and posing direct threats not only to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people but also to the business and macroeconomic environment.
The rising cost of fuel and negative weather patterns have a significant impact on the cost of goods and services meaning that corporates and households will have to come to terms with the impact of disrupted supply chains.
Similarly, human wellbeing and health has always been affected by climate change and weather. Below average to failed rains led to a corresponding decline in access to and consumption of food.
Extremes from the drought and floods and other human and non-human stressors lead to inadequate supply of clean water, pasture, under-nutrition and malnutrition, decreased public health and insecurity.
The impact of climate change is projected to increase in the next decades. Threats will intensify and new threats will emerge.
It is important to assess the risks posed by climate change and to identify interventions the industry can provide to manage the risks by insurance and non-insurance consumers at all levels.
Nearly all private and public sector businesses are affected by the increasing risk from climate-change-influenced weather perils.
Direct and indirect investments across all sectors are exposed to the escalating effects of climate change and the greater investment risk.
Identifying the direct and indirect risks of climate-influenced losses is no doubt complex but necessary.
Indeed, the insurance sector needs to evaluate the impact of weather related risks to insurer solvency especially considering that the insurance sector’s financial stability is heavily dependent on its investment portfolio.
In other parts of the world, insurers are examining how climate change will impact the investments insurers hold to establish applicable regulatory practices for investment practices of insurers.
There is a need to develop new covers for direct and indirect weather-impacts to reach the most vulnerable users through innovative, cost-effective means.
The Association of Kenya Insurers works closely with the Insurance Regulatory Authority to address outdated laws and regulations and to promote the use of more efficient and effective technological capabilities.
This will cut costs and modernise operations in line with emerging consumer needs and expectations. There is need for a system that responds to consumers 24 hours a day.
For instance crop and disaster insurance against unforeseen weather events and disasters needs to be provided to farmers as a standard practice.
Small-scale farmers who are the most vulnerable to the vagaries of nature are left out because it is not available or too expensive.
There is need for a system that insures farmers to enable them to continue farming whether or not their crop or livestock is wiped out.
Ultimately, the impact of climate change will be felt across many sectors of the economy and insurance can provide financial security.
Awareness of the risks including floods, droughts, water, methods of mitigation, pricing and corporate practice will play an important role in reducing the shocks of climate and weather change on businesses, households and the economy.
— The Writer is CPF Group managing director