June 29, 2018
By Erica Lee
Sitting in their home in Vunavutu Village in Sigatoka, the Naibuka family were still coming to terms with the sudden death of their son only a week earlier, when they were startled by a beep on his mobile phone.
Picking up the phone, Alifereti Naibuka discovered a text message confirming that a payment was deducted from his son’s mobile phone talktime, for an insurance policy.
After making inquiries, Mr Naibuka found out that his son had taken out a life insurance policy from BIMA and was paying a monthly premium (cost) of FJD $26.60 (USD $10.31).
At the time of his passing, 25-year-old Manasa Naibuka worked at the Warwick Hotel in Sigatoka and supported his parents who he lived with. On the night of his death, he suffered from a severe headache and passed away a few of hours after being admitted to the Lautoka Hospital.
“A week after his death when we discovered that text message on Manasa’s phone, we called BIMA and were told what was required from us to make a claim. My son had not told anyone in our family that he had bought insurance, so it was a big surprise to us when we discovered that he had made me his beneficiary,” said Mr Naibuka.
Manasa’s parents travelled to Suva and were helped by staff at BIMA’s call centre. The claims approval process went smoothly and two weeks later, Mr Naibuka received FJD $6,675 (USD $3,186.61) through his wife’s bank account.
The Naibuka’s said their son’s insurance payout was very helpful as he was the main income earner in the family. The payout also helped ease some of the financial stress from hosting Manasa’s Vaka Bogidrau, a traditional Fijian celebration feast held 100 nights after his burial which was attended by 70 households in Vunavutu Village. Many of the villagers were interested to learn about BIMA and how they too could get the insurance cover.
“We have become ambassadors for BIMA in our village, speaking to our family and friends about the benefits of this insurance. We have asked BIMA to create more awareness about the product, because we believe that it would help many families in Fiji like it did ours,” said Mr Naibuka.
BIMA is a world-leading micro-insurance provider, operating in 14 countries worldwide. It offers mobile financial services to financially underserved communities and their insurance products are convenient, simple to use and are offered at very competitive rates. This makes their products more appealing to low-income customers than those of traditional insurance providers.
BIMA offers three different covers with different monthly prices. The monthly cost is divided into 20 daily payments, which are deducted from the insured person’s talktime.
This innovative microinsurance product has already reached 30,200 Fijians as of 31st March 2018, through the support of the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), which receives funding from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand and the European Union. PFIP is a joint United Nations Capital Development Fund and United Nations Development Programme focused on bringing affordable and sustainable financial services to low income earners.