Remarks By Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister For Finance, At The Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (SEADRIF) Press Event, At Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, Manila, The Philippines

First, let me thank Mr Aso for your opening remarks, and for your leadership in this. Also, my thanks to World Bank colleagues. I’m also very happy to see that our colleagues from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar are here with us today. I want to thank members of the media for your attendance.

Introduction

2.      Southeast Asia is vulnerable to a range of natural catastrophes – from earthquakes to tsunamis to typhoons and flooding. The events may affect a large number of people or a small number of people. Whatever it is, any of such events affect the lives of those people who are directly affected.

SEADRIF is an innovative regional solution

3.      But there is, today, a protection gap. SEADRIF, which is Southeast Asia’s disaster risk insurance facility, will be a step forward in bridging this protection gap. We will be working with re-insurance industry that will fund on an ex-ante basis to protect against natural catastrophe events. Should something unfortunate happens, it will certainly relieve the burden of governments because the facility can now provide financing for losses to cover such events. As Mr Aso mentioned earlier on, this is the first of such facility in Asia, and certainly in ASEAN. So it is an innovative regional solution to narrow this protection gap.

4.      SEADRIF’s beneficiaries will be Laos and Myanmar. It has potential for us to support risk management in other ASEAN countries in the future, and providing re-insurance against a range of natural catastrophic risks. Japan plans a very important leadership role in getting this facility going, and the World Bank has given excellent technical support.

Singapore’s commitment to support SEADRIF

5.      Singapore as host for this facility will do two things.

  1. One, we will play our part to contribute our financial support to the pool and in the establishment of SEADRIF.
  2. Second, we will make full use of the insurance ecosystem in the region to bring together public and private sector players which can provide cost-efficient reinsurance capacity, structuring and modelling support for the pool, along with technical capacity building for SEADRIF representatives.

Conclusion

6.      In closing, let me once again thank Japan and the World Bank, for your strong leadership and support. We have, as Mr Aso mentioned earlier, come a long way despite such a short time. We look forward to the official establishment of SEADRIF by the end of this year, and to continue working with our colleagues in ASEAN and in Asia to look at what we can do even better. And of course, the strong support of the World Bank remains important.

7.      Thank you very much.

Source: Ministry of Finance, Singapore https://www.mof.gov.sg/newsroom/speeches/remarks-by-mr-heng-swee-keat-minister-for-finance-at-the-southeast-asia-disaster-risk-insurance-facility-(seadrif)-press-event

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