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World Bank to Offer Disaster Insurance for Caribbean

The World Bank is set to announce creation of a regional insurance fund to help Caribbean countries struck by hurricanes or earthquakes.

Representatives from 18 Caribbean nations are gathering Monday in Washington to discuss the program, which will offer immediate cash to help local governments continue to function. Participating nations would pay an annual premium.

The World Bank has pledged nearly $30 million in start up funds and hopes to raise another $50 million from donors as a reserve.

The Caribbean suffers frequent hurricanes. In 2004, the World Bank used $20 million to help Grenada recover from Hurricane Ivan, which caused damage equal to twice the annual output of the tiny, island nation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.