Disaster insurance essential for urban poor

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Stakeholders behind the Move Up Project are encouraging insurance companies to create a tailor-made product particularly for the urban poor as one of the country’s disaster risk and management measures.

The Moving Urban Poor Communities Towards Resilience, or Move Up project, is composed of international non-government organizations led by Plan International Philippines along with Action Against Hunger and CARE with its partner, ACCORD.

The project is funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid.

“One of the things that help vulnerable people cope with the disaster is a product like insurance,” Plan International Philippines country director Dennis O’Brien said during a news briefing in Manila on Thursday, 11 April.

“The insurance companies are essential players in a multi-player environment that must come together if we’re going to be able to make strides towards making our cities more resilient and our people more resilient.”

O’Brien said that they have so far talked with Pioneer Insurance & Safety Corp. for a product offering to accommodate the urban poor segment of the population.

Overall, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) state that poverty incidence among Filipino individuals in the first semester of 2018, or the proportion of the population living below the poverty line, fell to 21 percent from 27.6 percent in the same period of 2015.

This translates to about 23.1 million individuals living under the poverty threshold, lower compared to the 2015 figure of 28.8 million.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said that 60 percent of the Philippines’ total population live in urban settings, with 28 percent living in areas considered as squatter and slum dwellings.

“We need to simply get the message out to say that this isn’t charity and there’s a whole segment of the population there that is untapped that you don’t normally deal with, but if you get the service offering right, you’ll make a lot of money at it,” O’Brien said.

Still, Action Against Hunger DRR coordinator Blen Huelgas added that aside from changing the insurance companies’ mindset , there remains the task of encouraging the people to invest in products that ensure post-disaster financial security.

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