Global insurer maps Caribbean coral risk

International insurer Catlin Group Limited is underwriting a massive expansion of its study of coral reefs with a new campaign in the Caribbean and Bermuda.

The Catlin Seaview Survey program – which will significantly widen opportunities for ocean, coral and climate scientists to understand the changes that are occurring within the region – starts in Belize, Mexico, Bermuda, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

Coral reefs in the Caribbean, like elsewhere, are under growing environmental stress. Being highly sensitive to environmental change, corals are considered the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.

Exploitation, pollution, warming waters and increased storms linked with climate change has caused the massive loss of corals across the Caribbean Sea over the last 50 years.

Caribbean economies given their dependence on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems for goods, services and economic welfare. According to the World Resources Institute, the value of shoreline protection services provided by Caribbean reefs is between $700 million and $2.2 billion per year. Within the next 50 years, continuing coral degradation and death could lead to losses totaling $140 million to $420 million annually.

“We are committed to understanding the future risks posed by climate change,” said Catlin Group CEO Stephen Catlin. “It is not only important that scientists have access to this valuable data, but companies such as ours must understand the impact that significant changes to our environment will have on local economies.”

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