$1m loss for sector

LOW profitability is recorded in the health insurance sector in the country because there are more competitive players in the market.

For BSPLife, the insurance company sustained a loss of about $1 million last year.

BSPLife managing director Malakai Naiyaga told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday that one of its competitors that was recently listed in the South Pacific Stock Exchange also suffered a similar loss.

“There is a slow profitability and there is aggressive in pricing by our competitors and brokers remain the key distributors in this,” Mr Naiyaga said.

When asked by committee member Prem Singh on whether the insurance company has a product that caters for the low income bracket, Mr Naiyaga said the challenges they saw with low-income earners was the sustainability of premiums payment on their policies.

“So we’ve seen that in group life we’ve done some insurance to formal groups like mataqali for example in the indigenous community where there is a sort of premium collection where everyone is paid into a medium, in this case, the mataqali through the iTaukei Trust Board.

“In terms of direct individual at the lower end, our customers were down to weekly pay and we see challenges in particular in the cash-flow payment and in some cases where they get out of employment and their premium discontinued.”

He said the company was working on a policy that had a combination of health, life and general cover and was in its initial stage.

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