Nature Conservancy adds $2 million insurance coverage for Hawaii’s coral reefs

Insurance coverage - Coral Reefs in Hawaii

The Central Pacific hurricane season is already underway, and the state is preparing for damage.

The Central Pacific hurricane season has started, and this year, the Nature Conservancy has purchased $2 million in insurance coverage to protect against potential damage to the coral reefs in Hawaii.

This represents the first time the Nature Conservancy has purchased this type of policy.

This insurance coverage is the first of its kind in the United States, in an important move that acknowledges the impact of climate change on increasingly common and destructive hurricanes and tropical storms. This is the next step in a broader protection effort already underway in coastal regions in other parts of the world, such as Mexico’s Quintana Roo and the coverage for the southern part of the country’s Mesoamerican Reef, which extends into Honduras, Guatemala and Belize.

Insurance coverage - damaged coral reef - destruction

The policies in both Mexico and Belize were developed a collaboration between the Nature Conservancy and its partners. Those policies have already resulted in payouts that have helped to fund reef repairs after hurricane damage.

The Nature Conservancy is seeking to use the insurance coverage as part of a larger reef protection effort.

The Nature Conservancy is working with its partner nonprofits and agencies in Hawaii to develop a set of response protocols as well as plans at a county level. It is working to recruit response team members in preparation for the damage to coral reefs left behind by a hurricane.

The effort has arrived as forecasters are predicting a hurricane season that could be more active than usual for Hawaii. The Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s prediction is that from June through November this year, up to 7 tropical cyclones could develop within the region or move through it. The average for the Central Pacific basin is between four and five tropical cyclones per year.

The prediction from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center was that this summer could see El Nino conditions developing across the Pacific. This could bring sea surface temperatures above average, creating conditions prime for the development of hurricanes.

The insurance coverage will help the Nature Conservancy to receive payments to fund its repair responses to damage left behind by those storms.

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