May 28, 2016
GOVERNMENT is looking to formulate a policy that would regulate insurance companies to offer assistance to ordinary Fijians in high risk areas.
While speaking at the 2016-2017 Western Division Budget Consultation Forum in Lautoka yesterday, Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said insurance companies had not made any effort to assist people affected by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston.
“Insurance companies for example have refused to provide insurance cover to people of Nadi and Ba who are ordinary citizens,” he said. “They only give it to businesses because they see these places as high risk areas. In some countries that would be illegal.
“You cannot cherry pick.
“Nor have they come forward and said ‘OK, you have cyclone issue, why don’t we offer for example a maximum of $5000 for roof strapping for basic homes’.
“They can limit the claims to even $3000 or $4000.”
He said with type of assistance from insurance companies, Government would not have to spend so much money in helping people rebuild their lives.
“But we have already done that.
“In fact, we have now put in $80 million through the ‘Help for Home Initiative’ which is an unprecedented allocation.
“There is no legal obligation for Government to do so but we also recognise the fact that most people who are not able to rebuild their homes come from very low social backgrounds and we are helping them get their lives back together.
“As a condition of the assistance, they all get their drawings on how to strap their roofs.
“So what we need is for the insurance companies to step forward and participate in that particular project of strapping of roofs and unfortunately they are not doing that.
“So we as Government need to think about how we can make them do so.”
Source: FIji Times