Press Release
February 23, 2015

Micro-Insurance to address needs of the poor for risk protection

Especially with the onset of climate change, Senator Cynthia A. Villar said micro-insurance will indeed address the needs of the poor for risk protection and relief against distress, misfortune and other contingencies or emergencies.

Villar said the products and services of micro-insurance providers will really provide big help to the poor.

"This is particularly timely and relevant in the context of the natural disasters that we contend with at any given year," said Villar.

During these times, she said there will be stronger typhoons due to climate change.

"And we are all aware that many of the typhoon-visited and flood-prone areas are poverty-stricken din," she said.

Citing the regulatory framework of micro-insurance, the senator noted that the poor, compared to the other sectors, greatly needs risk protection against death, injury and illness, loss of property, and other contingent events.

Without any risk protection, she said the poor are very vulnerable and susceptible to unforeseen circumstances that will prevent them and their dependents from improving their lives and overcoming poverty once it happens.

In going around the different parts of the country every time there's a calamity or tragedy, Villar said she has proven that our poor countrymen were the most adversely affected by typhoons, floodings or any disaster that ravaged an area.

And the poor, she further stated, are the ones having the most difficulties in regaining their lives after being devasted by calamities.

Villar related that in an ideal world, if everybody's life and properties are covered by insurance, it would be much easier for them to start after being stricken by a typhoon or any natural disaster.

However, she pointed out the sad fact that "we are dealing with poor people here, many of whom have barely enough to bring food on their table and send their children to school."

"So, as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, I hope you can also develop micro-insurance products or services for farmers and fisherfolks, who are among the poorest in our country, which ironically, is an agricultural country," said Villar, adding that about two-thirds of the country's population is involved, directly or indirectly, in the agriculture sector.

If we are able to get them out of poverty, the senator assured this would have a significant effect in the country's economy.

She expressed hope that the bill on crop insurance being crafted by her committee will be passed by the end of the year.

She said this would provide big help to the farmers in the agricultural sector.

As stated in the Philippine Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP), Villar said protecting the poor and vulnerable groups is imperative in winning the battle against poverty."

She said insurance providers are in a good position to join the government combat poverty once through the provision of risk protection and increased access to insurance products and services. According to Villar, insurance coverage in our country is still relatively low.

Based the latest report of the Insurance Commission, only 13.92% of the Philippine population has life insurance.

"How much more the other types of insurance. And in terms of access by the poor to insurance products and services, only about 2.9 million of the 26.7 million Filipinos (who were below the poverty line in 2006), were reported to have some kind of risk protection."

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