4:00—5:30 PM
Center for Global Development
2055 L Street NW
- Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20036

Emergency Aid is Broken: Using Insurance to Make Disasters Dull



Daniel Clarke, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program, World Bank 

Stefan Dercon, Professor of Economic Policy, University of Oxford & Chief Economist, DFID 

Lena Heron, Senior Rural Development Advisor, USAID 

Theodore Talbot, Senior Analyst, Center for Global Development 

Millions of people live with the risk of rapid-onset disasters like cyclones, slow-onset disasters like drought, or the threat of conflict. We often wait for these crises to develop to collect money from donors, a delay that costs lives and dramatically raises the costs of responding. As a result, there was an $8 billion gap between what frontline agencies requested to tackle crises last year and what they received. 

We can do better. This panel, which includes the Chief Economist of DFID and senior specialists from the World Bank and USAID, will discuss why emergency aid may no longer be fit for purpose, and how insurance can help to fix it. Unlike aid, insurance contracts pay out quickly, under unambiguous conditions, and can increase our spending on disaster risk reduction. The discussion will highlight findings from “Dull Disasters? How Planning Ahead Will Make a Difference,” by Daniel Clarke and Stefan Dercon. It will also introduce CGD’s new workstream at the intersection of insurance and international assistance, including a high-level Working Group on scaling up access to disaster insurance by governments and frontline agencies.

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