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Analysis – First US Reef Insurance Marks Emergence of Reef Brigades by Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Fish swim among coral reefs in the waters of Alor, East Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia, October 6, 2022. REUTERS/Anji Teo/File Photo

Written by Claire Baldwin

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The Nature Conservancy’s vision for the future of coral protection includes speedboats and a global army of scuba divers and scuba divers deployed when reefs are devastated by tropical storms and hurricanes.

The global Reef Brigades plan got closer to reality on Monday when it purchased an insurance policy on behalf of the state of Hawaii, the first coral insurance contract in the United States, which will provide funds for repair work, based on similar policies obtained in the Caribbean.

“So far, conservation has really relied on philanthropic and government grants,” said Eric Roberts, program director for risk and resilience at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). “By using insurance, we also benefit from the private sector to do this work.”

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Aside from being a prized nursery for fish, the coral reefs that fringe developed coastlines can limit flooding by providing a buffer against ocean storms, which means insurance companies have a stake in protecting them.

“Even with just the value of reducing flood risk, that’s usually enough to provide a feasibility study to say, yes, we need to protect these reefs,” said Roberts.

Reef brigades recover coral fragments, store them in marine nurseries or onshore, and then re-attach them using cement or epoxy, when safe at a cost of $10,000 per hectare to $1.5 million per hectare when new corals grow in the nursery.

For a $110,000 premium in the Hawaii contract announced Monday, that state will receive up to $2 million in insurance protection for its reefs through the end of December 2023.

The policy covers the majority of Hawaii, from the Big Island to Kauai, and begins pushing at 50 knots of wind.

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Higher wind speeds result in higher payments as a percentage of the policy value, up to the limit. The idea is that payments are available for restoration work within seven days of the storm. With this type of policy – a “borderline” policy – there is no need for a damage assessment.

Mexican precedence

The idea of ​​securing coral reefs was first tested three years ago by the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

Offshore from some of the country’s most famous Mayan ruins, local tourism companies and the government have bought an insurance policy to cover their share of the Mesoamerica coral reefs.

The environmental group, the MAR Fund, has subsequently implemented policy on the rest of the coral reefs of Central America, including elsewhere in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

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The policies prompted one storm in Mexico in 2020 and another in Belize in November this year. Quintana Roo paid 6 million Mexican pesos ($307,850 USD) to renew her policy last July.

“Yes, it can be a lot of money,” said Environment and Environment Minister Josefina Huguet Hernandez Gómez, but it was worth it.

“The cost is higher when you have biodiversity loss or coral reefs than you pay in insurance,” she said.

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:), who has worked on MAR fund policy and Hawaii policy, said it is actively working on Fiji’s coral reef policy, coral bleaching policies, runoff due to heavy rainfall, and loss. Fishing days due to storms caused by climate change.

The need to disseminate the work globally is clear.

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A 2020 coral reef insurance feasibility study by The Nature Conservancy concluded that “unprecedented global coordinated efforts among the public, private and philanthropic sectors will be required for the survival of coral reefs beyond the end of this century”.

Among the criticisms of the UN climate talks that concluded this weekend in Egypt is that they did too little to link addressing biodiversity with reducing broader environmental damage.

Its major achievement was the agreement on the “Loss and Damage” fund to help poor countries cope with climate catastrophes.

Patricia Espinosa, a Mexican diplomat and former chair of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said coral reef insurance aligns with the loss and damage talks at COP27 and should be explored further.

“The reality today is that the bulk of the losses we see as a result of these extreme and very dangerous weather events are not insured,” she said.

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“If we don’t deal with the climate crisis, we will already be facing a complete catastrophe that will be felt by all sectors.”

($1 = 19.4900 Mexican pesos)

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Biotech tells Citadel Securities that other major traders manipulated its share price

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In a new lawsuit, Northwest Biotherapeutics has accused the market maker of illegal “spoofing” orders.

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Dollar general stocks plunge as expectations drop

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The stock fell sharply Thursday after the discount retailer reported a rare fiasco, and its fourth-quarter financial outlook fell short of Wall Street estimates.

The company said fourth-quarter earnings will range between $3.15 and $3.30 per share. Analysts tracked by FactSet had expected earnings of $3.66 per share in the fourth quarter. Forecasts call for growth of 7% to 8% for the fiscal year versus previous forecasts for growth of 12% to 14%.

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Altice USA maintains Suddenlink business after strategic review by Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of cable and mobile communications company Altice Group is seen during a news conference in Paris, France, March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wageser/File Photo

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(Reuters) – The broadband operator said Thursday that Altice USA Inc will retain its regional internet and cable business, Suddenlink, after a strategic review.

A source told Reuters in July that the company, which is controlled by French-Israeli telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi, has hired Goldman Sachs to manage the divestment, and the company is likely to generate $20 billion including debt.

Altice shares were down about 4% in pre-bell trade.

Altice acquired Suddenlink, which primarily serves customers in the south central US, for $9.1 billion in 2015 and renamed it to “Optimum” in August.

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The company was exploring selling Suddenlink to reduce its debt burden amid strong competition and subscriber losses. Altice, which has a market capitalization of about $2 billion, has a long-term debt of about $24 billion.

The stock has lost nearly half its value since reports emerged of the company exploring a sale of the unit.

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