TISI Sangam Gives Members Economic Hope

April 16, 2013

Saturday, 13th April, marked the signing of the LICI -TISI Sangam Microinsurance policy document formalizing the process of registering Then India Sanmarga Ikya Sangam (TISI) Sangam members in the Nadi district to one of the lowest premiums on the insurance market in Fiji.  The event was held at the Sangam school complex in Nadi.

For the past two years, AusAID together with development partners Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) have collaborated to offer an insurance product that will offer protection to low-income Fijian communities.

The LICI -TISI Sangam Microinsurance Scheme offers TISI Sangam’s members the ability to cope with unexpected shocks by paying a minimum premium of FJ$14/year for FJ$1,000 annual funeral coverage. LICI congratulates TISISangam for bringing this scheme to the masses and LICI is happy to be partnering with TISI Sangam to help contribute to the community at large and provide much needed insurance to the vulnerable communities who need it most, “expressed Mr. Sanjeev Jain, Acting General Manager, LICI.

Mr. Jagannath Sami, CEO, TISI Sangam, Fiji was all smiles as months of planning and negotiations was finally being formalized. Mr. Sami expressed. “For the past two years we have been working with LICI, PFIP and other donors to bring this funeral insurance benefit to our doorstep, offering our members from the ages of 18-65 a low premium cover that will give them security and support during unpredictable events like death or accidents.”
“We are finally reaching out to our poor Sangam communities. For years, Sangam members have been going to Sangam conventions, sending their children to Sangam schools-this is an initiative we know that will meet the needs of our members.”

PFIP facilitated this partnership and offered extensive technical assistance to both partners with financial assistance from AusAID. Mr. Reuben Summerlin, PFIP Project Manager and Regional Financial Inclusion Advisor commented, “Through this partnership with LICI and TISI Sangam, we think we can clearly demonstrate that there is great potential for insurance among low income people – that they can understand insurance and they are willing to pay for insurance coverage. The death of an individual not only often removes a family’s source of income; it also can force them into debt.  Products like this will enable poor people to better cope with risks rather than sinking deeper into poverty.”

During the event, Ms. Muni Ratnam Mestry, a TISI Sangam community facilitator was awarded best salesperson award, managing to sign up 51 TISI Sangam members for this funeral insurance scheme.  Asked whether she would stop here, she answered fervently, “Oh no! I think I will sign up some more of our members because this is something good and will greatly benefit not just the poor but everyone, so I am encouraging all our women members to sign up for themselves and their husbands!”

PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping to provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is a joint project of the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and has received additional support from AusAID and the European Union. The programme operates from UNDPPacific Centre in Suva, Fiji.