Flood insurance for river basin people

20 August 2013, Bangladesh

Partner Press Releases 

Poor and vulnerable people in the river basin areas of Sirajganj district come under an index based flood insurance product, to address the disaster risk reduction in the flood prone regions.

The product was launched yesterday (20 August 2013) at BRAC Centre in a program titled Launching Ceremony on Index Based Flood Insurance Product Piloting in Sirajgonj, Bangladesh, organized by Oxfam.

Initially the flood index insurance product will cover 1661 poor families of 10 villages located in Char areas of Sirajganj district on a pilot basis. The product aims to provide cash relief of up to BDT 8000 per household in event of catastrophic flood.

Addressing the launching ceremony as the chief  guest, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, Minister of Disaster Management and Relief said, ”With this very innovative initiative, poor and vulnerable people of Sirajganj district, who are the regular victims of flood will feel more secured. Such kind of initiative helps the government to address the disaster risk reduction.” He urged all to scale up this effort to cover whole Bangladesh.

Snehal Soneji, Country Director for Oxfam in Bangladesh, in his welcome remarks said. “Bangladesh is a flood prone country, which is one of primary reasons for wide spread poverty, despite the remarkable economic progresses government has made. Index based flood insurance is aimed to design a commercially viable catastrophic flood insurance scheme for the poor and vulnerable.” He further added, “We are now piloting it in Sirajganj, with a hope to spread it across the country with the support from government, national and international organizations.”

Initiated by Oxfam, the project is funded by SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation) and jointly implemented by CIRM Advisory Services (India), Institute of Water Modeling (Bangladesh), Pragati Insurance Ltd. (Bangladesh), Swiss Re, Manab Mukti Sangstha (Bangladesh) and Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (Bangladesh).

"Floodwater that used to create fertile ground for agriculture crops has resulted in catastrophic consequences in Bangladesh now. Through this flood index insurance scheme, Swiss Re supports the insurance sector with product structuring, pricing and underwriting, as well as reinsuring the risks. The insurance scheme will help to mitigate the fiscal impact of the flooding to the villages, and strengthen the resilience of the economy," said Harini Kannan, Head of Agriculture Reinsurance South West Asia from Swiss Re, the reinsurance partner for this project.

Earlier Sardar M Shah Newaz, Director, IWM presented the flood hazard model and Rupalee Ruchismita, Executive Director, CIRM presented the keynote paper on Index Based Flood Insurance Product.

Among others, Manirul Islam, Managing Director, Pragati Insurance Ltd, Prof. Dr. M. Monowar Hossain, Executive Director, IWM, Md Habibullah Bahar, Director and Manab Mukti Sansgtha also spoke.

Mohammad Abul Wazed, Director General, Disaster Management Bureau (DMB) addressed as the special guest, while MB Akhter, Program Manager, Oxfam, gave the vote of thanks.

Representatives from government, national and international organizations, media and community were present at the event.

For more information, please contact: Md Abdul Quayyum
Media and Communication Coordinator, Oxfam
Mobile: +8801713060151
Email: aquayyum@oxfam.org.uk

Note to Editors :

Oxfam has initiated the pilot project aimed to design a commercially pragmatic catastrophic flood insurance scheme for the poor and vulnerable, targeted to sensitize meso-level investors who are working in pro-poor river basin flood prone areas. It will be a tool to improve calamity response of Community Based  Organizations (CBOs),  NGOs  and  government. The underlying principle of the scheme is: if the Government, Local Government Elected bodies, Private Sectors and Development agencies transfer risk, especially catastrophic risks to a formal risk carrier (Financial or Social Institution); the Disaster Management and Risk Reduction efforts of the country will improve along with the ability of the government and development agencies to invest more on Disaster Risk Reduction.