The Fiji Times » Product Beneficiaries

Ahead of the launch of the parametric microinsurance product under the UN Capital Development Fund’s Climate Change Insurance and Adaptation Program (PICAP), the Tailevu Dairy Farmers Cooperative Association Ltd (Cooperative) presented the initiative to its board of directors, officers and representatives across the province. .

The outcome was favorable as the leaders became the first beneficiaries to sign up for the microinsurance product, setting an example for the rest of the dairy community.

For the co-op, the message was clear: insurance coverage can be a financial lifeline in times of need or hardship. Natural disasters are real and it is important to plan and prepare for these unpredictable situations.

This was the message that needed to reach the community through their leaders who trusted the product.

Natural disasters wreak havoc, and in addition to leaving many unprepared families homeless and without income, the widespread devastation can bring the economy to its knees.

In times of disaster, farmers and herders often have to pick up the pieces along a trail of destruction – damaged crops and farms, loss of livestock, tools and planting material.

Being insured might at least bring some relief in the community. For the cooperative, the initiative to roll out the product among affiliates has raised its profile not only as a cooperative, but also as a partner of UNCDF in the microinsurance pilot project.

Since the launch in August 2021, the Cooperative has embarked on an awareness and education campaign on the product, noting that the agricultural sector in Tailevu province plays a vital role in the local economy.

The cooperative noted that some farmers have ventured into commercial farming, moving from selling produce and livestock in local markets to supplying the export market.

Opportunities abound in this sector and province, with a number of financial literacy workshops held to ensure business sustainability among farmers, women and youth.

“It’s important that we have this awareness about the parametric microinsurance product, not just about financial literacy, but about the importance of disaster preparedness and disaster risk mitigation,” Talei said. Rokotuibau, central manager of the cooperative for PICAP.

The cooperative has continuously worked alongside board members and stakeholders who initially signed up. With only one of the two products proposed for the pilot phase, the cooperative has noted strong interest from potential beneficiaries to invest in two microinsurance products once the pilot is over – a suggestion the cooperative plans to discuss with insurance companies. ‘insurance .

From the start, the cooperative integrated the benefits and risks of the product into its awareness programs during on-site visits around the province.

According to Ms Rokotuibau, the real test of the product’s strengths and weaknesses would come from a real natural disaster, with cyclones typically hitting Fiji between November and April.

“We need to prepare for the disaster so we can grasp its impact and use it as a real case study.

“At this time we are only sharing experiences from aggregators and this is different from a real case of deploying this product (following a real disaster). We hope there will be no cyclone, but it’s a waiting game to see the rollout of disaster insurance benefits. Only then can we outline its strengths and weaknesses,” said Ms. Rokotuibau.

Using digital spaces and media to create conversations and communicate product benefits is an option being considered by the cooperative, as many people have internet-enabled devices to access these online spaces to share informations.

For the cooperative, raising awareness through financial education initiatives among affiliates would also ensure the sustainability of the product, noting that immediate assistance and relief for farmers following a natural disaster would make a huge difference. in disaster recovery.

The cooperative also plans to work with the Ministry of Agriculture on how best to help affiliates with parametric microinsurance coverage.

With movement restrictions related to COVID-19 slowly easing, the co-op will continue outreach activities in other parts of the province to keep the conversation about insurance benefits alive.

A positive result of its outreach initiatives so far is the interest shown by potential beneficiaries in villages that the team has not yet visited.

According to Ms. Rokotuibau, a few members who were not in their region had also signed up for the product after learning about the initiative through word of mouth.

To ensure inclusiveness, the cooperative continues to encourage the participation of women, people with disabilities and small business entrepreneurs to join their workshops and outreach programs.

The co-op also believes that the concepts of financial literacy and insurance should be rooted in the school system from an early age, as this would introduce the next generation to the importance of saving, budgeting and investing for a future. sure.

The cooperative noted that some community members were initially hesitant, but hoped to change their mindset about microinsurance products, noting that people tend to act on something once they have it. seen the advantages – ‘so na raica, so na kila (when they see, they will know).

In the future, the cooperative hopes to contribute to the growing debate on the importance of parametric microinsurance products as a means of financial security in the face of natural disasters.

“We need to keep the discussion and benefits fresh in people’s minds rather than long breaks between PICAP projects,” Ms Rokotuibau said.

In terms of advocacy, Ms. Rokotuibau recommends documenting disasters and their impacts in words and pictures, in relation to the parametric system and how it works, as well as sharing beneficiary stories.

She suggests including other coverage/product packages for floods and rains as the cyclone has multiplier effects.

The cooperative also called for better data collection on weather aggregates in their province to keep communities informed of natural disasters.

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