Nature Conservancy purchases an insurance policy to cover Hawaii’s coral reefs

Insurance policy - Coral Reef with fish
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The nonprofit is the first organization to obtain coverage for the coral’s repair following coastal storms.

Coastal storms in Hawaii have been damaging already threatened coral reefs and the Nature Conservancy nonprofit has now purchased an insurance policy to repair that damage.

State officials cannot afford to implement the repairs that the coverage will pay the nonprofit to do.

This first-of-its-kind insurance policy approach to climate change is an effort to obtain the necessary funding to help the coral reefs in Hawaii to keep up with the worsening storms. This is an all new approach to providing environmental protection and the environmental group is hoping it will ensure that it can keep up with what state officials cannot afford to do. If it proves successful, it has the chance to become a model for further natural structure defense in the United States.

Insurance policy - coral reef - sunlight

To make this happen, the Nature Conservancy, which is a large nonprofit focused on environmental causes, has taken out coverage for the entire 400,000 acres of coral reef that surround the 137 islands comprising the state of Hawaii. This coverage was obtained despite the fact that the reefs are on public land and are therefore not owned by the nonprofit.

If a storm damages the reefs, the Nature Conservancy’s insurance policy will kick in.

The coverage will provide a payout to the nonprofit within a span of about two weeks from when the damage to the reef occurs as a result of a strong storm. This is an extremely fast payout window when compared to typical policies.

Once the payout is being issued to the nonprofit, the Nature Conservancy will request permission from the state of Hawaii – the actual owner of the reefs – to conduct the storm damage repairs. Though there is no guarantee that the state will permit the repairs, since Hawaii doesn’t have the funds necessary to do its own repair work.

Upon receipt of permission from the state to go ahead with the repairs, the money from the insurance policy payout will be used to pay a team of divers to begin the reef repairs. This must be done with considerable efficiency, as there is a window of about six weeks following damage after which broken coral cannot be repaired and will die, further shrinking the reef and the strongest protection Hawaii has against future storms.

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