October 5, 2018
Suva, Fiji – A Fijian owned insurance company has been recognized by the United Nation’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) for its outstanding contribution to financial inclusion in the Pacific.
FijiCare was awarded the 2018 Reuben James Summerlin (RJS) Innovation Award on Wednesday night by the New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Jonathan Curr.
In awarding the RJS Award, Mr Curr said the New Zealand Government was proud to have been a long-standing partner of PFIP since its inception in 2008 and acknowledged the important work that PFIP was doing in the region with financial service providers to create new and improved products that would help improve the lives of Pacific Islanders
“Innovation can help reduce some of the challenges Pacific Islanders face in using financial services, particularly geographical distances in accessing the nearest physical bank branch, for example. We believe the new finance service products will also help increase trade and business opportunities between New Zealand and the Pacific,” he said.
PFIP Programme Manager Bram Peters said the awardee is selected based on evidence of a clear focus on under-served clientele, such as women or and rural communities, applying client-centric design in product development, and most importantly, taking these innovations to scale.
“We recognize FijiCare’s initiative, commitment and drive in creating of the Pacific’s first bundled micro insurance product and for taking a calculated risk when no other insurance company was willing too.
FijiCare’s Chairman Mr. Avi Raju and Managing Director Mr. Peter McPherson said FijiCare was honoured to receive the award especially during the celebration of PFIP’s 10th Anniversary.
“Winning this award was a privilege and it has certainly been a learning experience for FijiCare in developing the micro insurance product as this is a first for the insurance industry in Fiji. The bundled product would not have been possible without the support of our stakeholders i.e. the Pacific Financial Inclusive Programme (PFIP) team and Reserve Bank of Fiji. I would like to sincerely thank them for their tremendous guidance and inspiration in making the Bundled Micro Insurance product a reality,” said Mr McPherson.
He added that with the introduction of the bundled micro insurance being over a year old now, it can be said that every Fijian above the age of 18 years should have a basic life and general insurance cover as it is very important.
FijiCare launched its bundled microinsurance product in July 2017 initially covering 12,500 sugarcane farmers then went onto cover dairy, copra and rice farmers. Seeing the success of the product, the Fijian Government cover another 107,000 civil servants and social welfare recipients under the insurance scheme.
The RJS Innovation Award is granted annually to one of PFIP’s partners that has made the greatest contribution to Financial Inclusion in the Pacific in the past year. The award was established in 2016 to commemorate the late PFIP Programme Manager, Reuben James Summerlin, and to honour his legacy to financial inclusion in the Pacific. This award has been previously won by BIMA, Westpac and the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped over two million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.
PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.