May 19, 2018
Labasa, Fiji – 150 coconut farmers and 230 rice farmers are today covered under insurance for the first time.
Fiji’s Minister for Agriculture, Honourable Mr Inia Seruiratu officially launched bundled microinsurance cover for Copra Millers Fiji Limited in Savusavu followed by Fiji Rice Limited in Dreketi today. The scheme is an initiative of the United Nation’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) in partnership with FijiCare Insurance Limited.
The project is one of PFIP’s many regional efforts to increase the use of financial instruments especially insurance to help Pacific Islanders cope with disaster related risks. This component of PFIP’s work has been funded by the Regional Disaster Resilience in the Pacific Small Island Developing States (RESPAC), a UNDP-Russian Federation funded programme.
PFIP’s Deputy Programme Manager Krishnan Narasimhan said that PFIP had since July last year covered farmers in the sugarcane, dairy and now copra and rice industry.
“Prior to this product being made available, Fiji lacked appropriate and affordable insurance products for clients in the low-income segment. From our 2015 research on Fiji’s Financial Service Demand Side, we know that only 3.8 percent of farmers in Fiji have had any form of insurance, showcasing their low exposure to insurance products.”
“Though the uptake of this new product has been mostly by the farming industry, it is a great product that can be taken up by any industry or sector, or low-income earning group. At a premium of FJ $1 a week or $52 a year, we believe that this is affordable for almost all Fijians,” said Mr Narasimhan.
Mr Narasimhan stated that insurance was an important financial service needed by individuals to cope with risks like catastrophic or tragic events. When faced with a risk, smallholder farmers may take out expensive loans, exhaust their savings, or sell assets. These coping mechanisms may also push farmers who do not have any form of savings towards predatory alternative sources of finances that may lead them to a cycle of debt.
FijiCare’s Managing Director, Peter McPherson said that the company was proud to support two more farming industries to protect their members.
“We understand that losing a home to a fire, dealing with the cost of a funeral or injury of a sole bread winner for smallholder farmers can put immense strain and pressure on families. While the product is not designed to cover every risk of a farmer’s entire livelihood, but can instead protect them from four financial shocks,” he said.
Chairman of both Copra Millers Fiji Limited and Fiji Rice Limited, Mr Raj Sharma said agriculture is the main source of income for many communities in Fiji and by providing insurance cover for smallholder farmers means that we are helping them to unlock opportunities to increase productivity and growth for the industry.
“We believe that this product will build the resilience of smallholder farmers as the claims payout will help them to recover faster from fires, natural disasters and other catastrophic events in their life. No matter what our circumstances maybe, there will still be school fees to pay, mouths to feed and social obligations so insurance can really help our members cope with these financial shocks. Through this initiative, Copra Millers Fiji Ltd and Fiji Rice Ltd is assisting its members to become resilient.”
PFIP is currently in talks with other industries in Fiji to cover their employees and working on developing livestock insurance.
About FijiCare’s Bundled Microinsurance Product
“Bundled” insurance offers consumers added convenience and potential cost savings by combining multiple insurance coverage in one package, one insurance policy. It includes a term life, funeral expenses, fire insurance on the house and household property of farmers and personal accident coverage at a standard, low and affordable price.
Fiji Care’s microinsurance has a combined cover limit of FJ $10,000 per insured farmer for a cost, or premium of FJ $52 per year ($1 a week). The $10,000 limit covers:
2) Personal Accident (up to age of 65) – Maximum FJ $3000
3) Fire – Maximum FJ $3,000
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped over 1.8 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.
About FijiCare Insurance Limited
FijiCare Insurance Limited, a general insurance company, underwrites medical, term life, mortgage protection, worker’s compensation, personal accident, public liability, funeral bdenefits, motor vehicle, and micro insurance risks in Fiji.
FijiCare Insurance Limited is dedicated to providing insurance products that provide quality protection with value pricing. We will achieve and maintain FijiCare’s customer service policy. Customers Are Really Everything (CARE).
FijiCare Insurance Limited operates from 9th level, FNPF Place, Suva with FijiCare Medical Centre at 123 Amy Street, Suva and has an office in Port Villa, Vanuatu operating as VanCare Insurance Limited.
For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Erica Lee – Communications Associate