Catastrophe Financing for Governments: Learning from the 2009-2012 MultiCat Program in Mexico

OECD Publishing

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Date Published 2011
Version OECD Working Paper No. 9
Primary Author Erwann Michel-Kerjan
Other Authors Ivan Zelenko, Victor Cardenas and Daniel Turgel
Theme Disaster Risk Mitigation and Housing Finance


With rapidly increasing population and growing catastrophe exposure in their countries, many more government leaders (including Presidents, Prime Ministers and heads of Kingdoms) are now faced with this strategic question: how best develop a national strategy to hedge against the massive economic burden of extreme events that could hit their country tomorrow? We propose a framework to help those leaders in governments around the world and their advisors think more clearly about these issues, focusing specifically on the role that risk transfer mechanisms alternative to traditional insurance can play. The report provides a case study of the $290 million multi-peril, multi-tranche catastrophe bond recently sponsored by the Government of Mexico and arranged by the World Bank under the MultiCat Program. We discuss the step-by-step creation of this catastrophe bond, from starting discussions that took place in 2008 to the investor road show and the successful issuance of the bond in October 2009. This joint initiative could provide an example for other countries that wish to establish their own financial coverage solution against disasters, as part of a broader national risk management strategy. We illustrate this with the case of the government of Chile and earthquake risks. It also shows that considering countries, or even cities, for the issuance of such insurance-inked-securities (ILS) could considerably expand this market for alternative catastrophe risk transfer instruments.

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