PFIP and its partners have been working to introduce insurance products that target low-income households in the Pacific and so help make the insurance market more inclusive in the region. As part of this, PFIP undertook research studies in Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG) to evaluate the demand for potential microinsurance products.
The research study focused discovering the number of potential clients that have the ability and interest to pay for insurance in both rural and urban areas. About 19,000 rural and urban households were represented in the study. Key findings included that the greatest barrier to insurance was lack of awareness, requiring client education. Currently, Fijians manage financial emergencies by resorting to loans from financial institutions, family, friends and moneylenders, showing that there is a case for microinsurance
Papua New Guinea
The research highlighted that the potential of micro-insurance in PNG is limited to urban or peri-urban centres, due to irregular cash flows dominating rural areas. In such places, there are concentrations of the salaried and waged employees from the formal economic sector, plus large numbers of people who work in the informal economy, who are engaged in small business and others who have regular cash flows, and could afford suitable insurance products and services. The estimated potential for additional insurance coverage is 285,000 (about 10% of the total employed workforce). About 80% of the workforce are engaged in subsistence agriculture in rural areas, presenting more of a challenge to conventional insurance providers using traditional distribution channels.