Bangladesh has launched a community-based insurance scheme to provide financial security to over two million coastal fishermen whose work is becoming increasingly dangerous as the number and severity of storms increase and become more unpredictable.
Fishermen have welcomed the scheme, which is being introduced by the state-run Jiban Bima Corporation (JBC) in 15 coastal districts, and a significant number have already enrolled in it, each paying Tk 1,240 ($16) a year for insurance cover of Tk 200,000 ($2,500).
“If any fisherman dies after buying a policy, his family members or nominated person will get Tk 200,000 as compensation,” project manager Dulal Chandra Nandi told AlertNet. “If any policy buyer remains missing for six months, his heirs will get 50 percent of the claim and the rest will be given after another six months if the policy holder remains untraced.”
He said coastal fishermen are very poor and highly vulnerable to cyclones and other disastrous weather events. They are also easy prey for river pirates, and subject to attacks by tigers while fishing near the Sundarbans.
“We found that when fishermen die or go missing, their family members suffer severe financial problems. We have considered their agony while planning the insurance policy,” said Nandi. There are some 2 million members of the National Fishermen Samity (Association) who save some money every month, and the JBC plans to provide all of them with insurance cover eventually.
“The insurance policy is community based. The Samity will pay us the premium direct through banking channels from the fishermen’s savings. Paying only Tk 1,240 won’t be very tough for them, they earn a good sum during the peak season,” he said.
Bangladesh launches community insurance for 2 million fishermen - AlertNet