Some 2,000 flood-affected casual labourers from Kurigram district received an insurance pay-out of Tk 2,700, the WFP said Wednesday.
This will contribute towards compensating them for their wage losses caused by flooding throughout July, August and September this year.
The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations, Oxfam Bangladesh, and the Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd launched a new insurance scheme in July this year on a trial basis.
The purpose was to learn whether this could be useful to support casual agricultural labourers affected by a prolonged monsoon flood like the one that hit Bangladesh this year, said a media release.
The experience from this flood insurance trial will contribute towards designing more appropriate insurance products for the poor and vulnerable.
“Risk insurance transfer mechanisms have the potential to be an effective tool to protect casual labourers from the impact of natural disasters on their ability to work and meet their families’ daily food needs,” said Richard Ragan, WFP Bangladesh Country Representative.
The trial scheme and initial product have been developed with funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
The overall goal of the initiative is to enhance the ability of households in flood-affected areas to deal with shocks while improving their ability to reduce and manage risks as well as maintaining their food security levels.
“It is fascinating to learn that flood insurance is working well, even in a place where flooding occurs almost yearly. This innovative approach can also be tested to support other vulnerable groups like smallholder farmers,” said Young-ah Doh, Country Director of KOICA Bangladesh Office.
KOICA said it believes that this trial may inspire the government as well as other development partners of seeing private sector interventions like insurance as a possible effective approach to reduce human sufferings and losses from this kind of catastrophic floods.
“While climate change affects us all, many low-income households are bearing the brunt of the impact, which further drives the inequality. Oxfam believes that this flood insurance scheme will help vulnerable groups like casual agricultural labourers in Bangladesh in covering their wage losses and contribute to reducing the inequality,” said Dr Dipankar Datta, Oxfam in Bangladesh Country Director.
As agriculture is an essential sector of Bangladesh, the country cannot ensure sustainable development when leaving a large portion of marginalised people unprotected from the impact of natural risks, he said.
Farzanah Chowdhury, Managing Director & CEO of Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd said they have insured thousands of agricultural day labourers through the flood insurance scheme in this year and they are happy to stand beside agricultural day labourers when they need support.
Technical partners, Weather Risk Management Services (WRMS), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and Save Earth Climate Services Ltd provided historical data to develop the index-based flood insurance product.