August 16, 2022, 12:59 am

Staff Correspondent

2020-12-02 14:17:32 BdST

Flood insurance scheme for Bangladeshi farm labourers piloted

Some 2,000 casual agriculture labourers from northern Kurigram district have received an insurance payout of Tk 2,700 each, distributors said on Wednesday.

This, they believe, would contribute to compensating them for their wage losses caused by flooding in the north throughout July, August and September 2020.

The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations, Oxfam Bangladesh, and the Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd. launched the new insurance scheme in July on a trial basis, said a news release.

The objective of the scheme was to learn whether this could be replicated to support casual farm labourers affected by a prolonged monsoon floods the country sometimes experiences.

Now, these organisations say, the experience from this flood insurance trial will contribute towards designing more appropriate insurance products for the poor and vulnerable groups.

“Risk insurance transfer mechanisms have the potential to be an effective tool to protect casual labourers from the impact of natural disasters on their ability to work and meet their families’ daily food needs” said Richard Ragan, WFP Bangladesh Country Representative.

Dr Dipankar Datta, Oxfam in Bangladesh Country Director, said Oxfam believes that this flood insurance scheme will help vulnerable groups like casual agricultural labourers in Bangladesh in covering their wage losses and contribute to reducing the inequality.

The news release said the trial scheme and initial product have been developed with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

The overall goal of the initiative is to enhance the ability of households in flood-affected areas to deal with shocks while improving their ability to reduce and manage risks as well as maintaining their food security levels, added the release.

"It is fascinating to learn that flood insurance is working well, even in a place where flooding occurs almost every year," said Young-ah Doh, KOICA Country Director for Bangladesh Office.

“This innovative approach can also be tested to support other vulnerable groups like smallholder farmers. KOICA believes that this trial may inspire the Government as well as other development partners of seeing private sector interventions like insurance as a possible effective approach to reduce human sufferings and losses from this kind of catastrophic floods.”

The product has been developed based on an analysis of over 19 years of satellite data, validated by water level and rainfall data, said the release.

It mentioned that the payout is made based on pre-defined flood indexed parameters such as inundated area as a percentage of the total geographical area and the duration of flooding. Green Delta Insurance Ltd. covers the risk as the insurer.

“As agriculture is an essential sector of Bangladesh, the country cannot ensure sustainable development when leaving a large portion of marginalised people unprotected from the impact of natural risks. We have insured thousands of agricultural day labourers through the flood insurance scheme in this year,” said Farzanah Chowdhury, Managing Director and CEO of Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd.

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