Region: The International Development Bank, World Bank Group, Andean Development Corporation, Caribbean Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration recently announced their pledge to lend US$90 billion to Latin America and the Caribbean in the next two years. Pamela Cox, the World Bank Group’s Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean stressed that the lending is intended to “support medium-term development, not bailouts.” As to likely targets for the lending, International Development Bank President Luis Alberto Moreno indicated that the hardest hit countries, in many instances those geographically closest to the United States, would likely receive the greatest lending.

Peru: Comparing February 2009 to February 2008, total premiums for the Peruvian insurance market increased 8.05% from US$242.17 million to US$261.66 million. Ceded premiums increased 13.73% by the same comparison.

Venezuela: Comparing February 2009 to February 2008, total premiums for the Venezuelan insurance market increased 20.77% from US$1.460 billion to US$1.763 billion. Ceded premiums increased 76.01% by the same comparison.

Brazil: SUSEP, the Brazilian insurance regulator, recently licensed two additional occasional foreign reinsurers as CNSeg, the nation’s insurance federation, continued to stress the importance of increased insurance penetration in emerging economies such as Brazil’s. SUSEP recently approved the applications of units of Zurich Financial Services (Switzerland) and Fortis Corporate Insurance (Netherlands) as non-life occasional (eventual) reinsurers. CNSeg also recently noted that emerging markets have greater exposure to catastrophes than more established economies because of the lower levels of insurance available to fund recovery. CNSeg further noted the significance in such emerging markets of considering the establishment of a catastrophe fund and increasing insurance penetration by education, mandatory insurance and improved distribution channels. Mexico became the first Latin American nation to create a catastrophe fund in 1996 and there has been some discussion in Brazil recently about the possibility of creating a similar fund to protect against agricultural losses.