Axa XL has today launched its Coastal Risk Index (CRI) - a tool it is hoped will help build the case for nature-based solutions as a tool for societal resilience.

Coral reef

The tool compares scenarios for coastal flooding with and without the impacts of coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves. 

Chip Cunliffe, biodiversity director at Axa XL,  said mangrove and coral reef ecosystems are key to supporting risk mitigation and adaptation efforts against the impacts of climate change. 

“Calculating the resilience value of ecosystems is therefore critical for the lives and livelihoods of those communities on the frontline. With this greater knowledge, the CRI will also lead to more robust strategies to protect and restore these natural assets around the world.”

Axa XL said the tool models coastal flooding at different levels of severity based on current conditions and projections for 2030 and 2050, quantifying the impact of possible future climate scenarios on sea level rise and storm surge.

The tool also calculates the number of people and assets at risk in different scenarios, with and without ecosystems present. Global mangrove maps also quantify the flood reduction benefits of restoring recently lost mangroves, Axa XL said.

Speaking at the launch of the CRI in Glasgow, Axa XL’s group chief communications, brand and sustainability officer Ulrike Decoene said: “The CRI will enable the insurance community to more accurately price risk and help private and public sector clients better understand their exposure to coastal flooding, ultimately helping to build economic and social resilience.” 

Axa XL developed the tool in partnership with IHE Delft in the Netherlands, the University of California and the Government of Canada through the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance.

Axa XL said it has also introduced additional safeguards to detect illegal fishing for all fishing vessels and refrigerated cargo vessels that it insures, as well as confirming its membership as a signatory of the Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Principles.