The Fiji Development Bank (FDB) has further enhanced its FDB Loan for Women Entrepreneurs facility with the addition of parametric insurance in partnership with Tower.
Tower’s parametric insurance product is designed to provide policyholders with a rapid cash payout when their house, or other insured location, is impacted by a high wind-speed cyclone event, regardless of damage.
Today’s agreement signed by the two organizations will support the customers under the FDB Loan for Women Entrepreneurs facility to purchase parametric insurance cover alongside their loans. The cover will cost the customers as low as $8 per month and will give immediate relief in the event of a cyclone.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Ms. Sashi Kiran commended the two organizations for their partnership and vision of creating an enabling business environment for women entrepreneurs.
“Women entrepreneurs are a growing market force, serving as a critical source of innovation and job creation and fueling economic growth. Despite this, women-owned businesses do not have equal access to capital – or the networks – needed to stabilize or expand,” said the Hon. Minister.
“I thank Fiji Development Bank who in collaboration with the Fijian Government had developed the FDB Loan for Women Entrepreneurs. The facility was designed considering the importance of women’s economic empowerment and that participating in economic activities allows women to make positive changes in their own lives and communities with a ripple effect that will eventually benefit national economic development.”
She said that given the increase in the severity of the weather conditions and the effects of climate change, this parametric insurance cover is timely and will provide much-needed relief to the MSMEs.
FDB Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Saud Minam acknowledged Tower for their partnership in this empowering course.
CEO Mr. Minam also stated that this facility strengthens the Bank’s commitment to Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI).
He said FDB is focusing on this area to provide a more conducive environment for women entrepreneurs to become resilient and be able to sustain their businesses in the longer term.
“The Bank is reassessing its existing products and services through the GESI lens and appropriate changes will be done in due course.”
“With the success of the initial launch of this product, in which businesses in operation for six months or more were eligible to apply, we are now encouraging customers with businesses in operation for three months or more to apply for this facility.”
From August last year to 28 February 2023, FDB has received nearly 2000 applications out of which 585 have been approved for a value of $1.4 million. The loan facility allows a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $5,000 with a loan term of 3 years – which is available to sole traders, joint ventures and partnership businesses.
Tower’s Head of Pacific Digital Distribution, Veilawa Rereiwasaliwa said Tower is looking forward to supporting women in business and entrepreneurship in Fiji.
“Less than 10% of households in Fiji have any form of cyclone insurance. With women and children being most impacted during disasters and recovery efforts, it’s important that we provide products to help those who are the most vulnerable following significant weather events, such as cyclones.”
Fiji is heavily exposed to natural hazards, with cyclones being one of the events that regularly cause damage to assets and an increase in expenses for many households, businesses and communities. Locals rely on using their savings, borrowing money or seeking cash from elsewhere to start their recovery during a cyclone crisis.
How Tower’s parametric Insurance product works
Tower’s parametric insurance pilot was launched in collaboration with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The UNCDF has a goal to protect Pacific countries and has provided support to launch parametric cover in the Pacific through its Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaption Programme.
Tower’s parametric insurance product, Cyclone Response Cover, is currently being piloted by Tower for the 2022/23 cyclone season. Tower and FDB’s partnership is the second phase of the pilot, the first phase began with 40 families from Totoya Island, Kadavu Island, and Kubulau district in Bua province. The cover will be launched to all residents for the 2023/2024 cyclone season.
For more information on Tower’s Cyclone Response Cover, visit https://www.towerinsurance.com.fj/cyclone-response-cover/