[Coral-List] Coral Reef Insurance

Storlazzi, Curt cstorlazzi at usgs.gov
Wed Jul 26 12:27:42 EDT 2017


Steve and I had a nice little discussion offline that those interested in
this topic of "coral reef insurance" might find interesting. I share the
highlights here:

Currently we (TNC, USGS, and the University of California at Santa Cruz) are
expanding the TNC effort Steve shared to the social and economic
quantification of coastal hazard risk reduction provided to all US
populated coral reef-lined shorelines (Hawaii, Florida, Guam, CNMI,
American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and USVI). Compared to the international-scale
TNC product Steve shared, this new US-wide effort increases the resolution
down to 100 m on the ocean side and 10 m on land, using NOAA's coral reef
mapping data, USGS/NOAA topo-bathymetric digital elevation models, CENSUS
social data, and HAZUS economic and infrastructure data. The goal is to
accurately quantify and map at high resolution the people (which can be
broken down by income, age, race, etc) and infrastructure (private housing,
businesses, critical infrastructure like hospitals and power plants, etc)
protected by coral reefs.

If we can more rigorously value coral reefs in terms that non-"reefers"
care about (like protecting people and property....than things like
ecosystem integrity that many cannot wrap their head around and thus might
not care about), maybe that helps motivate those non-"reefers" to
prioritize coral protection and preservation.

Please see Ferrario et al, 2014** for cost effectiveness of coral reef
restoration versus construction of coastal engineering structures and
Quataert et al, 2015** for comparison of wave-driven run-up and coastal
flooding over a healthy coral reef versus a degraded coral reef. Together,
these suggest healthy coral reefs better protect shorelines than degraded
coral reefs at lower cost than building engineering structures.

**Ferrario, F., Beck, M.W., Storlazzi, C.D., Micheli, F., Shepard, C.C.,
and Airoldi, L., 2014. ”The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard
risk reduction and adaptation.” *Nature Communications*, 5:3794, DOI:

**Quataert, E., Storlazzi, C.D., van Rooijen, A., Cheriton, O.M., and van
Dongeren, A., 2015. “The influence of coral reefs and climate change on
wave-driven flooding of tropical coastlines.” *Geophysical Research Letters*,
v. 42, p. 6407-6415.

Thus we are trying to quantify that hazard risk reduction so maybe the
hotel owners (in the current example) better invest in protecting their
fronting coral reefs, or the insurance agencies incentivize them through
adjusting premiums. Not the be-all-end-all, but hopefully another
quantifiable metric to help protect and preserve US coral reefs per US
Executive Order 13089.



> > From: Steve Mussman
> > Sent: Monday, 24 July, 13:43
> > Subject: [Coral-List] Coral Reef Insurance
> > To: coral list
> >
> >
> > So I've seen this story pop up repeatedly on social media and I can't
> help but think that the headline is misleading. Seems to me that this
> enterprise is more focused on protecting hotels and beaches from storm
> surge rather than it is about conserving local coral reef ecosystems. Is
> this a sign that I have become too cynical? https://www.bloomberg.com/
> news/articles/2017-07-20/a-coral-reef-gets-an-insurance-policy-of-its-own
> Regards, Steve

Curt Storlazzi, Ph.D.
U.S. Geological Survey
Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
2885 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 460-7521 phone
(831) 427-4748 fax

Staff web page:
Coral Reefs:
*https://coralreefs.wr.usgs.gov/ <http://coralreefs.wr.usgs.gov/>*
Sea-level Rise and Atolls:

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