17 October 2016

Insurance policy rolled out for fisher folks

fishingThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and four other organisations have signed an agreement under an initiative to provide life micro-insurance for fisher folk within the fishing communities in the country.

The agreement forms part of commitments to transform and develop Ghana’s Fisheries and Agricultural sector while supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for poverty and hunger reduction.

In the letter of agreement signed by the representatives of various partners, each partner’s role and responsibilities were spelt out in the micro-insurance initiative, which involved a savings-linked life micro insurance product with a permanent disability embedded.

The initiative was expected to significantly benefit the livelihoods of about 135,000 individuals in the fishing community comprising, 71,000 inland fisher folk and 27,000 women involved in fish processing and marketing.

USAID, under its Ghana Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), is implementing the initiative in partnership with Millennium Insurance, UT Life, Vodafone Ghana and BIMA.

BIMA, a world leading micro-insurance and health services provider, would support with the distribution and policy administration of the product while Millennium Insurance and UT Life Insurance would underwrite it and the SMFP would support education and sensitisation of fisher folk on the insurance initiatives and also make available its local partners to support the registration efforts.

Vodafone Ghana would support the partnership by deploring its mobile money platforms for premium collections and claim payment.

At the signing ceremony in Accra, Dr Brian Crawford, Chief Party of SFMP said his organisation was facilitating the micro-insurance initiative for the fisher folks based upon a request from the fishers at various platforms for such an initiative to improve their lots, especially during closed fishing seasons, a period where fishermen are banned from fishing and disturbing the sea to enable restock of fish.

He said the agreement was a private sector led initiative to complement Government adopted a fishery policy which also has an aspect of micro insurance for fishers.

Dr Crawford explained that there were more than 200, 000 people directly employed in the fishing industry but 2.2 million people depended on fishing as a way of life and as livelihoods and that the insurance package could serve as social benefits to them.

Ms Mary Dove, General Manager in charge of Operations at Millennium Insurance said anybody whose livelihoods depended on the sea qualified to be part of the programme.

She explained that it was a savings link policy with death and personal accident benefits- “which means that part of the contributions paid goes to a savings fund and the other is used for the insurance product itself”.

“The fisher folk select either a term of three or five years cover after which one can withdraw the money and then continue contributing. The policy packages include a permanents total disability, income support benefits, and maturity benefits,” she said.

The insurance policy would also offer the policy holder a once a year opportunity to withdraw up to 30 per cent of total annual contribution, which could be used as a pay out during any potential closed season.

Ms Yolanda Zoleka Cuba Chief Executive Officer at Vodafone Ghana Limited said Vodafone has more than 80 per cent coverage and still working to expand to the rest of the country so they could cover everybody everywhere.

“For us it is an important milestone as this is not only a business transaction but it’s a social impact initiative and part of our core strategy around inclusion,” We should make sure we leave no one digitally behind,” Ms Cuba said.

Mr Kwaku Yeboah-Asuamah Managing Director of UT Life Insurance said the agreement was a good thing that would allow fishers to redraw money during lean seasons and would contribute to their quality of life by increasing their economic and social security benefits.

Source: GNA

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