Philippines unprepared for disasters, says Harvard study

Less than one in five respondents is adequately insured for natural calamities

Philippines unprepared for disasters, says Harvard study

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Despite the Philippines encountering around 20 typhoons annually, only 36% of Filipinos feel they are prepared for such disasters, a study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) revealed.

This is accompanied by a very low level of insurance – with only 17% of the study’s 4,368 respondents feeling that they are adequately insured for natural calamities. These include life, health, home, and asset insurance policies.

Almost half of the respondents (47%) reported that they had not done anything to prepare for a natural disaster within the past five years, which is telling of the lack of preparedness in the disaster-prone country. Lack of income to prepare for disasters (47.5%) was the top reason cited by respondents. However, many of them said that if they had enough funds, they would prepare by strengthening their homes and buying emergency supplies.

“Even though many Filipinos have experienced property damage as a result of disasters, there were negligible levels of reported property insurance,” HHI said in its report. “This is a significant gap requiring attention by government and the private sector.”

Those who prepared for disasters said that past experiences with calamities were the primary reason why they took action. Others were encouraged by television and radio announcements for disaster preparedness, which provides insight where efforts can be focused in order to get people to prepare for the next disaster.

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