New study in PNG looks at insurance for settlements and villages

3:46 pm on 7 September 2016

A new study in Papua New Guinea is looking at the viability of offering insurance to people in settlements and villages.

PNG has one of the lowest insurance penetration rates globally according to a 2015 Oxford Business Group study.

It estimates coverage at under two percent of Gross Domestic Product which is significantly lower than the rest of the region.

Melanesian countries, excluding Fiji, make up the bulk of the seven million people in the Pacific who cannot access electricity.

Papua New Guinea has one of the lowest insurance penetration rates globally. Photo: RNZ/Johnny Blades

The survey is being carried out by Capital Insurance and is partly funded by a $US70,000 grant from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).

PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping low-income households gain access to financial services and financial education. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.

The survey is looking for ways to spread insurance protection over a wider range of the population, assess market potential and whether insurance can be delivered to these market segments in a commercially sustainable way.

The managing director of Capital Insurance Group, Philip Tolley, said they are seeking ways to assist the thousands of Papua New Guineans who live in settlement housing, but are currently excluded from the formal insurance market by the poor construction quality, or location, of their dwellings.

Mr Tolley said they are working with these residents to develop creative solutions to help this substantial segment of the population in the event of a major calamity.