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A-G: Government Cannot keep on footing the bills following a natural disaster, but they will not leave any vulnerable Fijians out

A-G: Government Cannot keep on footing the bills following a natural disaster, but they will not leave any vulnerable Fijians out
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
August 13
11:37 2018

Government is working on parametric insurance coverage so that Fijian homes would be covered in times of natural disasters.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has talked at length about this during the 2018-2019 National Budget Roadshow.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum explained that Government cannot keep on footing the bills following a natural disaster, but they will not leave any vulnerable Fijians out.

In recent years, Government spent more than $255 million in assisting Fijians rebuild after devastating Cyclones Winston and Josie. No government the world-over can
continue to pay such an amount every year, when that money can be used for other infrastructure developments which would benefit its citizens.

However, Government is mindful that Fijians do need a leg up. So, a way Government intends to do this is to take parametric insurance coverage for Fijians.

What is parametric insurance:

For example, if the next cyclone hits Southern Lau group, all homes in that area will receive the insurance pay out. Insurance companies or Government will not go and assess individual homes. It saves on costs incurred while doing the assessment and gives people assurance that their homes are insured.

Government has already set aside $1 million for premium for such a scheme. This will do away with CARE for Fiji and Help for Homes types of Government pay outs.

“If for example, if a cyclone comes down one path, all homes in that path get a pay-out. We don’t individually assess the homes, but if the cyclone path crosses that area, you get the pay-out. If your house falls outside the path, you don’t get paid. It helps Government too and gives people a particular sense of assurance,” said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

Other insurance cover:

Government already helps farmers – dairy farmers, rice growers, copra farmers and sugar cane farmers –with other forms of insurance.

Now Government has extended their cover to social welfare recipients and civil servants.

“Assuming I already receive social welfare, if my house catches fire and my house burns down, I will not be able to rebuild my house. Again, I will go to Government. We, (government) are is also protecting ourselves now.

“By having this insurance, assuming I am a social welfare recipient and my house catches fire, I will get $3000, even if I live in the squatter. Now, if I get personally injured such as serious injury, I again get pay out.

“If somebody dies, the beneficiary gets $3000 and $1000 for funeral expenses. This is a basic form of insurance which we have decided to give to the social welfare recipients because they are already people who do need money. It also protects Government too. We have to be smart about it. Insurance company pays for it so we don’t have unexpected expenses.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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