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Ocean Risk Initiative at AXA XL

After 25 years of ocean science research, AXA XL launched the Ocean Risk Initiative in 2017 to develop insurance and finance led solutions that reflect the implications of ocean derived risk and that aim to help build resilience at local, regional and global levels.

The Initiative is underpinned by three key focuses:

  • Drive the insurance industry’s response to ocean risk
  • First-stage support of strategic ocean risk projects and programs
  • Increase ocean literacy

The insurance industry has a critical role to play in finding solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Working with the Global Resilience Partnership and Ocean Unite, AXA XL is leading the development of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, a multi-sector collaboration designed to drive investment into coastal natural capital by pioneering ground-breaking finance and insurance products. These products can be used as a critical component of disaster risk management and climate adaptation in countries that often lack the financial resources to fund relief, recovery and post-disaster reconstruction efforts. The creation of the ORRAA was one of the most important and tangible outcomes of the 2018 Ocean Risk Summit, and AXA XL is part of its Secretariat.

The Ocean Risk Summit was held in Bermuda in 2018. Around 200 high-level representatives from government, academia, global/regional development banks, leading NGOs and the re/insurance industry met to discuss options and opportunities for responding to the many challenges associated with the risks of existing and projected changes to the world’s oceans. AXA XL was proud to serve as Presenting Partner for this important event.

Two reports supported by the Initiative were launched including Ocean Risk and the Insurance Industry and the IUCN’s Ocean Connections: An Introduction to rising risks from a warming, changing ocean.

Developing solutions to ocean risk requires an innovative and entrepreneurial approach. We actively support early phase projects to deliver tangible outcomes.

The Initiative currently supports three projects:

  • Aimed at policy makers and working with scientists, governments, NGOs and the private sector, the Ocean Risk Index is designed to quantify the fiscal impact of physical and marine biological changes along vulnerable coastlines;
  • With The Nature Conservancy, AXA XL is a founding partner to create Blue Carbon Resilience Credits - tradable credits that value the combined carbon sequestration and coastal protection resilience benefits of coastal wetlands;
  • Working with the Stimson Center to develop a scalable methodology to identify the coastal urban environments most at risk to the effects of climate change and illegal fishing.

AXA XL is proud to support the expansion of ocean literacy across the world. Launched in 2011, Oceans Education provides award-winning topic-based lessons which can be integrated into school curricula. We have so far reached over 5 million students in 96 countries, with resources translated into French, German, Portuguese and Polish.

The Ocean Risk Scholarship program funds PhD research into various areas of ocean risk. We are currently supporting students from the following universities: Amsterdam, Exeter, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Sheffield and the Scottish Association of Marine Sciences.

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