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The IDF is a public/private partnership led by the insurance industry and supported by international organisations. The IDF was first announced at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) Paris Climate summit in 2015 and was officially launched by leaders of the United Nations, the World Bank and the insurance industry in 2016.


The IDF aims to optimise and extend the use of insurance and its related risk management capabilities to build greater resilience and protection for people, communities, businesses, and public institutions that are vulnerable to disasters and their associated economic shocks. 

  • The global resilience challenge – Economic and humanitarian risks associated with catastrophic weather and climate-related hazards are increasing, representing a major challenge to global resilience, particularly in middle/low-income countries. This challenge was highlighted by the recent adoption of global agreements (Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-20301; Sustainable Development Goals 20302; and the COP21 Paris Agreement3) which form the UN Agenda 20304.
  • The protection gap – An estimated $163bn of assets are underinsured in the world today, leaving an exposure gap that poses a significant threat to livelihoods and global prosperity. Emerging economies account for $160bn (96%) of the total global insurance protection gap5. The focus of the IDF partnership is to help close this protection gap – thus building global resilience and protecting economies.
  • The role of insurance – Growing evidence indicates that countries with greater penetration of insurance coverage have faster economic recoveries from disasters and rebuild with greater resilience to future disasters. Research has shown that a 1% increase in insurance penetration can reduce the disaster recovery burden on taxpayers by 22%6. A key goal of the UN Agenda 2030 is to take a risk-based approach to manage the risks of extreme events and climate. Within the frameworks that form the UN Agenda 2030, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, insurance is explicitly recognised as a key vehicle to enable the risk sharing and transfer solutions required for greater global resilience.

  • The need for greater coordination and collaboration – Efforts to improve global resilience and address the protection gap have to date been primarily driven by a handful of private/public stakeholders. Given the scale, scope and complexity of the resilience and protection gap challenge, a coordinated and collaborative approach bringing together the insurance industry and relevant stakeholders is critical to meeting the goals of the UN Agenda 2030.

1 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030

Sustainable Development Goals

 The Paris Agreement

 The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

 A World at Risk: Closing the Insurance Gap

 Global underinsurance report


The IDF was conceived and proposed at a meeting of the Political Champions Group for Disaster Resilience (PCG) on the margins of the UN General Assembly in 2013. A Task Force was formed and produced a detailed Concept Note that outlined its need, purpose and potential operation.

The creation of the IDF was approved by the PCG Chairs, Rt Hon Justine Greening, Secretary of State, Department of International Development, UK Government and Helen Clarke, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme and mandated as a final outcome of the PCG in April 2014.

From then, and in preparation for the UN  2015 agreements, there was extensive engagement with UN processes to understand how the insurance sector could support their objectives and to shape the IDF to maximise implementation. This period broadened the understanding of insurance capabilities to support development and humanitarian priorities and widened awareness across the industry itself. These events included: 

  • April 2014 (Washington D.C) High Level Consultation Meeting on IDF Concept Paper.
  • June 2014 (London) - United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Summit at International Insurance Society (IIS) Global Insurance Forum in preparation for Sendai Framework Agreement.
  • July 2014 (London) - World Bank Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) Understanding Risk Meeting.
  • September 2014 (New York) - UN Climate Action Summit which included strong engagement from the insurance sector.
  • March 2015 (Japan) Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction. Over thirty insurers attended this meeting.
  • April 2015 (Washington D.C) First IDF Preparatory Meeting held on the margins of IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings. Rowan Douglas appointed Interim IDF Chair.
  • June 2015 (New York) UN-Insurance Summit at UN Headquarters attended by UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon as part of the IIS Global Insurance Forum.
  • August 2015 (Addis Ababa) IDF participated in UN Financing for Development Conference.
  • September 2015 (New York) Second IDF Preparatory Meeting held on margins on UN General Assembly to create provisional IDF arrangements.
  • December 2015 (Paris) Launch of IDF formally announced at Paris Climate Summit by Mike McGavick, CEO XL Catlin and Chair Geneva Association.
  • April 2016 round-table discussion chaired by UN Secretary General in New York followed by first IDF Meeting in Washington DC. Stephen Catlin appointed Chair, with Co-Chairs Helen Clarke UNDP Administrator and Joaquim Levy, World Bank Group CFO. Provisional IDF working arrangements adopted, Implementation Group co-chairs appointed and initial working groups mandated.


Following its launch, IDF has participated in a number of critical meetings to support mainstreaming efforts. These have included:

  • May 2016 (Istanbul) IDF addresses UN World Humanitarian Summit.
  • June 2016 (Singapore) over one hundred people participate in IDF Working Group sessions and approximately 500 attend the annual IDF meeting as part of the IIS Global Insurance Forum.
  • September 2016 (New York) First IDF Steering Group held in margins on UN General Assembly. Working Group plans approved.
  • October 2016 (Peru) IDF addresses Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Deputy Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors Meeting.
  • January 2017 (Davos) IDF event held at World Economic Forum.
  • March 2017 (Lima) IDF mission to Peru in response to flood disaster.
  • April 2017 (Washington DC) IDF Steering Group on margins of General Assembly.
  • June 2017 (London) IDF Annual Meeting and Working Group Sessions held on as part of IIS Global Insurance Form.
  • September 2017 (Monte Carlo) IDF Steering Group and Panel held at annual Reinsurance Rendez Vous.
  • October 2017 (Vietnam) IDF addresses APEC Deputy Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors Meeting.
  • March 2018 (Singapore) IDF meets with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Finance Ministers. 



  • April 2018 (Washington DC) IDF Steering Group approves IDF Governance Arrangements, IIS appointed to host IDF, Denis Duverne appointed IDF Deputy Chair.
  • June 2018 (Colombo) IDF Mission to Sri Lanka
  • July 2018 (Berlin) Summit on Insurance for Development as part of IIS Global Insurance Forum in partnership with the InsuResilience Global Partnership and IDF.
  • September 2018 (Monte Carlo). IDF Steering Group. Denis Duverne appointed IDF Chair with Co- Chairs Joaquim Levy, World Bank Group CFO and Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. IDF Operating Committee co-chairs appointed.
  • September 2018 (Argentina) IDF addresses first G20 Insurance Forum
  • October 2018 (London) IDF Secretariat established. Ekhosuehi Iyahen appointed as first IDF Secretary General.