Council Backs Review Plans

Oct. 3, 2017, 6:24 a.m.

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THE Consumer Council of Fiji, in a press release yesterday, embraced the proposed review of the stringent requirements of having a cyclone certification for property insurance by the Insurance Council of Fiji (ICF).

The council noted that the newly-appointed ICF chairman, Sarah Jane Wild, would be undertaking the review.

“It is timely and encouraging to note that ICF is now deliberating on the key issues raised during a council-organised stakeholder’s seminar on products, policies, regulations and consumer concerns related to property insurance in Fiji on August 11, 2016,” council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said.

This positive stance taken by the ICF under its new leadership could see more ordinary Fijians investing in insurance covers to protect their loved ones and their belongings against unforeseen circumstances, the release said.

“Low-income consumers very often do not have social or financial protection to withstand risks that can worsen their financial situation.

“No doubt, there is a need for vigorous awareness on insurance among the Fijians and the council supports ICF in its bid to educate the public on insurance,” Ms Kumar said.

She said a starting point could be the revamping of the ICF website, making it more informative, outlining the basic information about the insurance products and disclosures/exclusionary clauses to ensure consumers could better understand what they were investing on.

Council was also concerned as to why many working-class Fijians, even those who can comfortably afford insurance premiums, still choose not to invest in insurance covers and are asking the ICF members to look into this.

The move by ICF can be a stepping stone in making insurance more accessible to the Fijian consumers particularly, the low-income earners.

The council has reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with ICF and also with regulator Reserve Bank of Fiji to educate Fijians about insurance.

This article was first published in The Fiji Times on October 11, 2016.