Possible solution

Sun Insurance principal officer Tarlochan Singh (2nd from left), UNDRR Head of Pacifi c Subregional Offi ce Gabrielle Emery, and UNCDF Lead Specialist and Programme manager for Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme Krishnan Narasimhan with representatives of the pilot co-operatives. Picture: AISHA AZEEMAH

The launch of an anticipatory action insurance product by the United Nations and Sun Insurance may be the answer to cyclone damage for many local farming groups.

The Pacific’s first anticipatory action insurance product of its kind, it aims to provide co-operatives in Fiji with the financial resources to prepare for and recover from the ever-present threat of tropical cyclones.

The scheme will provide farming groups with insurance cover against tropical cyclones with payments triggered and paid out before damage occurs.

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Head of Pacific Subregional Office Gabrielle Emery said the team had worked with three farming cooperatives to ascertain how they could most effectively use the offered funds to address disaster risks before a cyclone hits.

Identified possible uses were food and necessity provisions, securing property and crops, moving livestock out of the area of harm, and transportation to evacuation centres, among others.

Payments will be triggered automatically based on early warnings, such as wind speed, and weather forecasts.

“Through timely early warning and rapid dispersal of anticipatory financing such as through this new insurance product, we are really confident that these cooperatives will be able to better mobilise resources and take preventative action before a disaster hits,” Ms Emery said.

According to Sun Insurance principal officer Tarlochan Singh the product was piloted with Cane-Farmers Co-operative Savings & Loans Association Ltd (CCSLA), Fiji Rice Ltd and the Tailevu Dairy Farmers Cooperative Association.

“This product is designed to address financial and social gaps at the micro, meso and macro levels caused by disasters, by implementing an anticipatory solution which will enhance disaster readiness and limit losses through pre-arranged funding,” he said.

UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Lead Specialist and Programme Manager, Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme, Krishnan Narasimhan said that while long-term rehabilitation and relief is important, “what is also important is an infusion of cash liquidity within a few days, so that without waiting for a long time farmers can bounce back better.”

The product was jointly launched by the UNCDF, UNDRR and Sun Insurance, at the Sun Insurance office in Suva yesterday.

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