As the scope of the disaster that struck 11 countries in the Indian Ocean continues to emerge, the world’s nations are beginning to gear up for what will undoubtedly be the largest collective relief effort ever mounted.
The precise death toll may never be known, but as it approaches 140,000, and the threats from water born diseases increase, it has become apparent that the stricken countries in the region and the millions of people affected by the tidal waves are in desperate need of assistance.
President Bush has pledged that the U.S. will work together with Australia, India and Japan in expediting aid. Countries around the world have pledged funds for relief and private donors are lining up to contribute.
As the relief efforts continue, agencies have set out some priorities. Rich Moseanko, a relief director for World Vision, the Christian relief and development organization, released a bulletin on their Web site that listed the 10 most common myths concerning disaster relief. Among other observations, he noted that finding supplies and aid workers in the countries where they are needed is far more efficient and less costly than trying to bring them in from abroad. The full text can be found on the IJ’s Claims Guides site at: www.claimsguides.com.
One observation he made, however, warrants further discussion. “The vast majority of the world’s population has never heard of an insurance policy, let alone are able to purchase one,” Moseanko stated. “Further, governments of poor countries can barely meet ongoing social service needs, let alone provide a safety net like FEMA. Disaster survivors must bear these costs alone.” The problem is they can’t do it alone.
We in the insurance industry are greatly relieved that the tidal waves apparently won’t produce huge losses for the industry (See related articles). That is perhaps a predictable outcome, as insurance is essentially a luxury limited to those individuals, companies and organizations that can afford to buy it. Insurers are after all private entities, not relief organizations; they do need to make profits in order to stay in business.
However, one only needs to compare the $22 billion plus insured losses from the Florida hurricanes with the massive devastation caused by the tidal waves to realize that there’s something more to insurance than making profits. AIG’s CEO M.R. Greenberg showed the way by pledging company funds to match individual employee donations.
The rest of the industry should follow that example, primarily to aid those who desperately need help, but also to acknowledge the special position the industry represents on a global scale. Insurance is a vital component of economic growth and ultimately of social stability. Helping to reestablish that in the countries hit by the tidal waves will ultimately benefit everyone.
Even though the companies will not apparently have to pay huge loss claims, we in the industry bear a special responsibility to help. If every one of us contributed the equivalent of just one day’s salary to relief efforts, it would raise a massive amount of money – even more if your companies follow AIG’s example.
The following is a partial list of charitable organizations and their coordinates (courtesy of Yahoo) that you can consult for a donation. We urge you to do so.
Asia Quake Fund-12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904
800-424-ADRA (2372) www.adra.org
Air Serv International – 6583 Merchant Place, Suite 100, Warrenton, VA 20187 – www.airserv.org
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Inc.
DC-South Asia Tsunami Relief – P.O. Box 321, 847A Second Ave.
New York, New York 10017 – 212-885-0832 – www.jdc.org
American Jewish World Service – 45 W. 36th St., 10th Fl.
New York, NY 10018 – 212-736-2597 – www.ajws.org
AmeriCares – 88 Hamilton Ave., Stamford, CT 06902
800-486-4357 – www.americares.org
Baptist World Aid – Asia Tidal Waves – 405 North Washington St.
Falls Church, VA 22046 – 703 790 8980 – www.bwanet.org/bwaid
B’nai B’rith International – B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund,
2020 K. St. NW 7th Floor Washington, DC 20006 – 212-490-3290
Brother’s Brother Foundation – 1200 Galveston Ave.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15233 – 412-321-3160 – www.brothersbrother.org
CARE – 151 Ellis St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303 – 800-521-CARE
Christian Children’s Fund – Child Alert Fund
PO Box 26484, Richmond, Virginia – 23261-6484 –
800-776-6767 – www.ChristianChildrensFund.org
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC)
South Asia Earthquake – 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI, 49560 – 800-55-CRWRC – www.crwrc.org
Church World Service – PO Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 –
800-297-1516 – www.churchworldservice.org
Direct Relief International – 27 South La Patera Lane,
Santa Barbara, CA 93117 – 805-964-4767 – www.directrelief.org
Food for the Hungry, Inc. – Food for the Hungry Asia Quake Relief
1224 E. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85034 – 800-2-HUNGERS
International Aid – 17011 W. Hickory, Spring Lake, MI 49456
800-968-7490 – www.internationalaid.org
International Medical Corps – Tsunami Emergency Response
1919 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 300, Santa Monica, CA 90404-1950 –
800-481-4462 – www.imcworldwide.org
International Relief Teams – Asia Earthquake/Floods
3547 Camino Del Rio South, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92108 –
619-284-7979 – www.IRTeams.org
International Rescue Committee – PO Box 5058
Hagerstown, MD 21741-9874 – 877-REFUGEE or 733-8433
Latter-Day Saint Charities – Welfare Services Emergency Response
50 East North Temple Street, Room 701,
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150-6800 – 801-240-3544
Lutheran World Relief – South Asia Tsunami – 700 Light St.,
Baltimore, MD 21230 – 410-230-2700 – www.lwr.org
MAP International – P.O. Box 215000, Brunswick, GA 31521 –
800-225-8550 – www.map.org
Médicines du Monde (France)
Médecines Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders (France)
Mercy Corps – Southeast Asia Earthquake – Dept. W, PO Box 2669
Portland, OR 97208-2669 – 800-852-2100 – www.mercycorps.org
Operation USA – 8320 Melrose Ave. 200, Los Angeles, CA 90069 –
800-678-7255 – www.opusa.org
Oxfam America – Asian Earthquake Fund – PO Box 1211
Albert Lea, MN 56007-1211 – 800-77-OXFAM – www.oxfamamerica.org
Plan USA – Asia Disaster -155 Plan Way, Warwick, RI 02886 –
800-556-7918 – www.planusa.org
Project Concern International – Asia Tsunamis Press List
5151 Murphy Canyon Road Suite 320, San Diego, CA 92123 –
858-279-9690 – www.projectconcern.org
Project HOPE – Asia Tsunami Response – 255 Carter Hall Lane,
Millwood, VA 22646 – 800-544-4673 – www.projecthope.org
SAWSO (Salvation Army World Service Office) –
South Asia Relief Fund – 615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA, 22313
Save the Children USA – 54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT 06880
1-800-728-3843 – www.savethechildren.org
Stop Hunger Now – SE Asia crisis – 2501 Clark Ave, Suite 200,
Raleigh, NC 27607 – 888-501-8440 – www.stophungernow.org
US Fund for UNICEF – General Emergency Fund –
333 E. 38th St., New York, NY 10016 – 800-4-UNICEF
World Concern – Asia Earthquake and Tsunami
19303 Fremont Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98133 –
800-755-5022 – www.worldconcern.org
World Emergency Relief – 2270-D Camino Vida Roble
Carlsbad, CA 92009 – 760-930-8001 – www.worldemergencyrelief.org
World Vision – P.O. Box 70288, Tacoma, WA 98481-0288
888-56-CHILD – www.worldvision.org
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