Tower launches Cyclone Response Cover pilot in two Fijian villages
Tower has today announced the launch of its Cyclone Response Cover pilot ahead of the upcoming cyclone season, offering peace of mind and financial security to Fijian communities.
Cyclone Response Cover provides a rapid cash pay-out when a customer is impacted by a high wind speed cyclone event, regardless of damage and without the need for an insurance assessor’s signoff.
The pilot is first being trialled with families in Ketei Village on Totoya Island and Kavala Village in Kadavu for the 2022/2023 cyclone season.
Tower’s Head of Pacific Digital Distribution, Veilawa Rereiwasaliwa says, Cyclone Response Cover will benefit the people of Fiji, particularly as climate change impacts increase over time.
“Fiji is rated as a high-risk area for exposure to natural disasters and is number 15 on the Natural Hazards list in the 2017 World Risk Index report, but less than 10% of families have insurance.”
“It’s important for us to provide the best possible support to the communities we serve. Cyclone Response Cover gives Fijians an affordable insurance option, as well as peace of mind.”
For the pilot, Tower customers have a choice of three product options, ranging from $1000 to $3000, based on the amount of cover they feel they need to fast-track their recovery after a cyclone event.
“You are guaranteed to be paid out, if a Cyclone meets certain criteria in your area, no questions asked, and no insurance assessment needed. We aim to process payments within seven days,” says Mr Rereiwasaliwa.
Fiji is heavily exposed to weather events, including cyclones. At times, locals are left to rely on their savings, borrow money or seek cash elsewhere to start their recovery, or even feed their families during a cyclone crisis.
In 2020, Tropical Cyclone Yasa caused approximately F$500m in damage, impacting 97,000 people. In 2016, Tropical Cyclone Winston caused more than F$2b in damage, impacting 350,000 people.
“Cyclone Response Cover will lessen the burden on local villages and their support networks, enabling them to recover from cyclone damage quickly. Tower is so proud to be launching this product. We’re doing what’s right by our customers and communities,” says Mr Rereiwasaliwa.
Ledua Niumataiwalu from Ketei Village on Totoya Island is part of one of the families piloting the cover for the upcoming cyclone season.
“Cyclones bring a lot of damage to our village. Our crops get damaged and we are not allowed to go to sea for fishing. During Cyclone Harold, we ran out of food in the village so, we had to ask our relatives in Suva to assist.”
“This type of insurance will help us buy food and replace or repair our damaged possessions. It just costs a few bundles of fish to pay for the premiums for the whole year,” says Mr Niumataiwalu.
Tui Kavala, Jona Vulakouvaki of Kavala Village in Kadavu, is also part of the Cyclone Response Cover pilot.
“Cyclone Harold did a lot of damage in our village. We had to use our village’s investment funds to repair the village hall and church. We didn’t have insurance to assist so, this new product will provide some assistance in our recovery,” says Mr Vulakouvaki.
Tower’s Cyclone Response Pilot has launched in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). UNCDF Programme Manager for the UN’s Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme Krishnan Narasimhan says, the UNCDF aims to protect Pacific communities.
“UNCDF, through its flagship Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme, is extremely happy to partner with Tower Insurance and provide support in rolling out parametric microinsurance products in Fiji.
“This partnership is firmly grounded on a common objective of improving the financial resilience and preparedness of Pacific islanders against the impacts of climate change and natural hazards. After an initial pilot and testing in Fiji, the plan is to expand to Tonga, Vanuatu and other Pacific countries.”
Tower is also working with local financial institutions to expand the initial pilot.
Following the pilot phase, Cyclone Response Cover will be available to all people of Fiji for the 2023/2024 cyclone season.
For more information, please head to towerinsurance.com.fj/cyclone-response-cover.