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IDF Blog

We were delighted to catch up with Matthias Range, Head of Unit for Disaster Risk Finance & Insurance at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), to continue our series of blogs and articles on key figures behind the establishment and ongoing development of the Insurance Development Forum (IDF).

For over a decade, Matthias, who also supports the IDF’s efforts in its working groups and committees, has been driving conceptional work and pilot projects on climate risk insurance as part of an “Integrated Climate Risk Management” (ICRM) approach in various sectors, including urban infrastructure, SME, industrial zones, renewable energy and the agricultural sector. Matthias also headed the think tank ACRI+ in cooperation with MCII and is continuously pushing for a broader view on disaster risk finance enabling the whole ecosystem.

The IDF was established 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.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work with the GIZ

I have been working with GIZ for the last 16 years and started my career in Sri Lanka and Indonesia where I supported the reconstruction after the Tsunami in 2004.

Consciously, I have always been involved with the development and strengthening of local and international financial systems, which has also connected me to the context of Disaster Risk Management and the opportunity to work in close collaboration with the private financial sector.

The topic of an ICRM is fascinating to work in, as it combines so many disciplines such as Private / Public Finance, Fiscal planning, Climate, DRM, and Humanitarian Aid. And each sector that is being focused on has its own specific challenges (such as waste management or contingency planning in an urban context). With GIZ I have a strong backing, and we benefit from having in-house expertise in all these areas.

Q: When did you begin to work with the IDF and how did the partnership come about?

I met Rowan Douglas and the IDF the first time at the GPDRM 2017 in Cancun, where MCII, UNDRR and GIZ were running a working session on “risk transfer and insurance for resilience”. I think it was back then when we started to cooperate by bouncing ideas and sharing knowledge and experiences. Since 2004, GIZ has been cooperating with many of the early members of the IDF in public private partnerships, pushing for engagement, innovation and commitment – I could not have been happier to see such initiative take form.

Q: Please explain a bit about the projects you are currently working on with the IDF

With offices in over 140 countries and four decades of experience in the Development of Financial Markets (including regulatory, institutional and target group level engagement) within our partner countries, we feel that we can best support the discussion by bringing in our expertise of local (inclusive) insurance markets. We are therefore actively involved in most working groups and also support the implementation of components such as the Tripartite Agreement, harnessing our experiences and contacts on the ground.

Q: What do you think are the key elements that make the IDF successful?

For me the IDF can be a role model for private sector engagement to improve global resilience. I believe the high level commitment of the members is truly important, as is the support from the public side such as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). But key are the people behind the IDF and I have utmost respect for the team, their power and energy.

Q: What are the key goals that you will be focusing on with the IDF on in the next 12 months?

From the GIZ point of view, it will be the discussion in the inclusive insurance working group (IIWG) which we lead with IGP, MIN and AXA. I see a huge role for GIZ to support this idea, to help implement it and create real impact. I am happy that inclusive insurance is gaining a new momentum. I hope we can also convince a donor soon to support these ideas behind it. On the other side, I am excited about the new task force on DRR and want to get involved. The nexus debate is overdue and crucial to implement an ICRM.

Q: Bonus question: If you could issue one call to action to help improve resilience around the world, what would it be?

Can I say “Time!”? We need off-the-shelves products which we can then implement and adapt locally. The world is facing a climate emergency and of course time is a scarce commodity.  But time spent in a focused and dedicated way is what is needed. We need the world to be able to wield very complex financial products, to model the past and the future and have all in one bucket in order to find the easiest solution for our partners. What a challenge!

Demand is not just popping up by offering the supply, which is also not just appearing out of thin air. I would like to call for more dedicated “time for action” to understand what is needed, to develop solutions, to prove concepts and to scale them. We need to be committed to the long-term and not just searching for one innovation after another.

Thank you to Matthias for your time, and the ongoing collaboration between GIZ and the IDF.

Also in the IDF at 5 Years series:


7th July, 2021