Drawing on this research, TNC has worked with partners to develop the Reef and Beach Resilience and Insurance Fund (RRIF). The RRIF, a project that is more than two years in the making, will be executed in partnership with a leading global reinsurer and with support from The Rockefeller Foundation. Through forming alliances on the ground with Mexican entities, government agencies and academic institutions, as well as conducting in-depth interviews with important stakeholders, TNC has laid the groundwork for a scalable way vulnerable coastal communities can strengthen their physical and financial resilience against climate change.
The fund will be designed to coordinate and unlock sustainable private sector capital for the protection and restoration of coral reefs. The Conservancy is developing this pilot in the resort towns of Cancun and Puerto Morelos, Mexico, where the economy and community are heavily dependent on tourism related to the Mesoamerican Reef and the beautiful beaches. The pilot will demonstrate how to insure coastal natural ecosystems that support tourism and offer an associated source of funding for ongoing reef protection and repair.
With the help of partners like the tourism and insurance industries, a new market of insurance products that protect coastal and natural communities while sustaining tourism economies would be possible. The time to move on this opportunity is now, though, because we can't afford to do nothing. Literally.