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The rise, costs and complexities of coral reef insurance

A coral reef in east Indonesia’s West Papua region. The UN is backing an insurance scheme to help protect the country’s marine ecosystem from adverse weather events (Photo: Lillian  Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images)
A coral reef in east Indonesia’s West Papua region. The UN is backing an insurance scheme to help protect the country’s marine ecosystem from adverse weather events (Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images)

Coral reef insurance has been hailed as an important new protection mechanism for coastal resilience, but setting up such schemes remains complex

In addition to the intrinsic value of coral reefs, which provide food and livelihoods for millions of people, they are also a practical barrier to erosion and storm surges: a healthy coral reef can reduce a wave’s energy by up to 97 per cent before it hits the shore. Since nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population lives within 100km of a coastline, according to the UN Environment Programme, this is significant.

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