Faith Based Organisations Participate in Microinsurance Planning Event

May 10, 2011

[Suva, May 6] Representatives of faith based organizations in Fiji participated in a workshop to learn more about microinsurance and help identify the most suitable features of a microinsurance product that would protect their low income members from losses and risks.

The microinsurance planning event was organized by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) on May 4 and attended by more than a dozen representatives of a wide range of faith based organizations. It covered issues like the demand for microinsurance, the availability of microinsurance products and information on a research being conducted identify the most suitable microinsurance product that meets the needs of low income people in Fiji.
Speaking at the event, the acting Chief Manager Financial Systems Development and Compliance of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Vereimi Levula said, “Microinsurance is critical in safeguarding and cushioning the losses and risks faced by the underserved and low income people.”

“More often many low income people do not have access to adequate risk management services, and are always vulnerable to fall into poverty in times of hardship, for example when the breadwinner of the family dies, when hospital bills force families to take out loans, or when natural disasters strike destroying family homes. In Fiji, many face similar risks on a daily and yearly basis, microinsurance, hence can be offered for a wide variety of risks,” said Mr. Levula.

He added that microinsurance has been introduced in other parts of the world to cover health risks, property risks, risks to crop damage, loss and death of livestock, theft or fire, and for natural disasters. This workshop comes just a week after Life Insurance Corporation of India (LICI) launched a “microlife” product designed with low income households in mind.

PFIP’s Anne Nacola said the event was targeted towards faith based organizations to get a true picture of the community’s needs. PFIP plans on conducting a survey with these organizations and others to help insurance companies understand what opportunities there are to reach lower income households.

“Faith based organizations were selected as a partner for this project because through their networks they are often able to reach the underserved and the low income earners in the community. This is the segment of the community which can effectively benefit from microinsurance,” said Ms Nacola.

PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is funded by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), AusAID, the European Union, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre.