TISI Sangam initiates funeral benefit for members

July 10, 2012

Funerals can be very expensive in Fiji. Focusing on community resilience, Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam (TISI) Sangam hosted fourteen of their field officers to undergo a microinsurance training, conducted by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) in partnership with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LICI) in Nadi, Fiji.

 The training focused on a ground-breaking funeral insurance product being offered to TISI Sangam’s members by LICI. The detailed training will empower the male and female field officers to become certified microinsurance trainers, enabling them to teach TISI Sangam’s members on the benefits of the new product.

Noting that the scheme is one of the most affordable insurance products in the region, the field officers recognize the importance of their role and their ability to offer low-income families a form of protection to meet their needs during unexpected events. During the training the participant–many of whom have never heard insurance before–were introduced to the concept through a Treasure Basket Game. This game was developed by Microinsurance Academy of India (MIA) and adapted by PFIP to transform the complex task of insurance education into a simple, effective and fun game.

Ms Sharda Mani Gounder of Uciwai, Nadi expressed, “For me when the game was played I realised, ‘Oh Dear!  I am going to die one day and need to prepare myself and my family for funeral expenses.’ I began to have thoughts of my loved ones running around and maybe borrowing from others just to cover my funeral costs.” The 53-year old added, “The game was a real realization for me…participating in the Treasure Basket Game made me realize the difference between having and not having an insurance cover. Having insurance cover ensures that we are prepared well in advance before a risk event or accident happens.”

Mr Masla Mani Gounder of Nacovi, Nadi, a retired Principal, was excited for the TISI Sangam community and said, “The Treasure Basket Game took me back to my younger days and I wish that I had this opportunity to have bought this insurance – my age now does not make me eligible for the scheme. However as a retired school teacher, I will assist the community understand the scheme and participate in it.”

This innovative, low cost insurance scheme is specifically designed to meet the needs of people in vulnerable Fijian communities. For the past two years, PFIP has been working with TISI Sangam and LICI to facilitate this partnership based on results from a microinsurance demand research.  The research was conducted in November of 2011 by Tebbutt Research with financial and technical support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), PFIP and AusAID Fiji.

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