Community Based Microinsurance Scheme Initiated in the Pacific

Microfinance Focus, May 21, 2012: The rural people of the pacific got access to much needed insurance products for the first time with the launch of a microinsurance partnership. The joint venture was between a community-based organization, Partners in Community Development (PCDF) and an insurance company, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LICI) in Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu, Fiji.

Resident Coordinator of the United Nations, Mr. Knut Ostby, launched the microinsurance scheme called ‘funeral’ in the village of Urata. This microinsurance product from Life Insurance Corporation of India (LICI) will be made available for the entire community of 40 villages in the Wailevu district.

Funerals are said to be expensive events in Fiji. This microinsurance product might help low-income families meet the high, often unexpected costs associated with them.  For $14 a year, an insured-person’s family will receive $1,000 in the case of natural death and $2,000 in the case of accidental death.

“This funeral insurance cover will greatly benefit the rural communities of Vanua Levu. It transfers the worry, financial burden and risk of a death in a family to an insurance company, in this case, LICI. Some of the insurance payment can even go towards helping the affected family re-establish their livelihood and income after the death of a breadwinner. This insurance scheme will enable people to better cope with risks they face in their daily lives, leading to more sustainable communities and therefore a brighter, wealthier and more resilient Fiji,” Mr. Knut Ostby commented.

The General Manager, LICI, Mr  Krishnan Narasimhan, expressed, “LICI is delighted with this partnership and is happy to offer something back to the community of Savusavu. I must say that this product has been carefully thought out and specifically designed to cater for the needs and challenges in rural communities. Now everyone can afford insurance, and I hope you can all take advantage of this great insurance scheme.”

This partnership was facilitated by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and offered extensive technical assistance to both partners with financial assistance from Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid).

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) co-funded by AusAID and the European Union. The programme is based at the UNDP Pacific Centre in Suva, Fiji.

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