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Managing disaster risk in the ring of fire

Article - November 12, 2014

Maipark Reinsurance (PT Reasuransi MAIPARK Indonesia) mitigates the effects of natural disasters in one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world

INDONESIA IS HOME TO SOME 130 ACTIVE VOLCANOES

Indonesia is a country that does not shy away from the fact it sits in one of the most disaster-prone locations in the world. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have had a devastating effect on the Asian nation in the past, but now it is taking the initiative by accepting these disasters occur and preparing for them to ensure the impacts on its economy and people are not as severe as they once were.

The Indian Ocean Earthquake of December 2004 provided a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of Mother Nature but the effects are now being mitigated by adequate insurance protection such as that offered by forward-thinking Maipark Reinsurance, an award-winning reinsurance company which faced that disaster in its first operational year.

The Jakarta-based reinsurer was shocked at the way disaster insurance was being addressed and has worked to provide an engine for economic recovery if and when disasters hit in the future.

“Our message is that we have to realize that we are living in a catastrophe-prone area and we need to embrace that fact and adapt ourselves,” says Dr. Frans Y. Sahusilawane, President Director of Maipark.

Dr. Sahusilawane was shocked at the insurance set-up to deal with disasters and the lack of “proper premiums” to help fund recovery. Learning from Japan, which has a similar history of natural disasters, Maipark has set up its own catastrophe modeling and is working on implanting other models, including one to deal with floods in Jakarta.

Maipark is also involved in other activities to minimize the impact of natural disasters. Research and educating the public is also high up on its list, while the company provides natural disaster prevention and mitigation measures free of charge to small communities. Tsunami early warning towers with loudspeakers have been built to aid communication.

“We want to educate people and help protect them from the impacts of earthquakes,” says Dr. Sahusilawane. “We take fellow insurers to important geological sites and teach them about risk and the importance of the environment. We are working to elevate Indonesia’s overall knowledge of earthquake risks.”

Indonesia cannot escape natural disasters but it is working hard to reduce the impact.
 

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