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Aliona Cebotari and Karim Youssef
Natural disasters are a source of economic risks in many countries, especially in smaller and lower-income states, and ex-ante preparedness is needed to manage the risks. The paper discusses sovereign experience with disaster insurance as a key instrument to mitigate the risks; proposes ways to judge the adequacy of insurance; and considers ways to enhance its use by vulnerable countries. The paper especially aims to inform policy decisions on disaster insurance. Through simulations of natural disasters and various insurance options, we find that sovereign decisions on optimal risk transfer involve balancing trade-offs between growth and debt, based on government risk preferences and country risk exposure. The choice of optimal insurance for smaller countries turns out to be more constrained by cost considerations due to their higher exposure, likely resulting in underinsurance; donor grants could help them achieve a more optimal protection. We also find that optimal insurance packages are those that are least costly relative to expected payouts (i.e. have the lowest insurance multiple), which are also the packages that insure less severe (more frequent) disasters.
Aliona Cebotari and Karim Youssef

-owned Insurance Corporation (SLIC), Costa Rica’s Instituto Nacional de Seguros , the Philippine’s Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) covering national government assets and local governments, among other ( Box 2 ). Box 2. Philippines: Catastrophe Risk Insurance Program As part of its Disaster Reduction Financing and Insurance Strategy, the government has introduced in 2017— with support from the World Bank Group and UK’s DFID—a catastrophe risk insurance program to protect government assets. Under the program, the government-owned insurance agency GSIS would

Ms. Kristina Kostial and Victoria Summers

pension funds consist of the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) and SSS (Social Security System; general populace government pensions for other workers). Employers, including government agencies, withhold applicable tax and make contributions. The funds also provide disability, death, sickness, unemployment, and maternity benefits. Health insurance premiums are now paid to the new health care fund (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC)). which was separated from the GSIS and SSS in 1998 under a separate new agency. GSIS. SSS, and PHIC contributions