KATHMANDU, JUN 17 -
The farm sector does not seem to be very attractive to insurance companies with only seven out of the 17 companies in the country entering the field. And this too after the Insurance Board issue a directive last February making it mandatory for them to sell agricultural insurance.
Oriental Insurance, National Insurance, Neco Insurance, Shikhar Insurance, NLG Insurance, Siddhartha Insurance and Himalayan General Insurance are the insurers covering the farm sector so far. Except for Himalayan, all of them have given insurance coverage to cattle and poultry. No insurance company has stepped forward to insure crops. The insurance coverage is worth Rs 23.23 million, and the companies have collected Rs 1.02 million in premiums from farmers. Insurance coverage for farm animals has been issued in
Dang, Chitwan, Rupandehi, Kavrepalanchok, Banke, Bara, Sunsari, Morang, Ilam, Kailali, Siraha and some places in the Kathmandu valley.
“We have been urging other companies to start insurance coverage in the farm sector,” said Kundan Sapkota, deputy director of the Insurance Board.
Meanwhile, Biswa Timila, deputy general manager of Neco Insurance, said many farmers were keen to insure their animals like cows and buffalos. The company has paid out compensation amounting to Rs 149,000 to them. Timila added they would be starting crop insurance soon. “We are coordinating with the concerned banks to start the service.”
The Insurance Board said that it would be some time before crop insurance is done. “As valuation of crops depends on location and type, it takes time for insurance companies to start covering them,” said Sapkota. “As there is no proper mechanism for assessing the actual output of crops, insurance companies have been complaining that they are finding it difficult to calculate profits or losses in the sector.”
He added that insurance coverage in the farm sector would expand once the government endorses bylaws to subsidise insurance premiums. The government has promised to pay 50 percent of the insurance premium in the farm sector.
Six months ago, the government introduced the Fisheries, Poultry and Agriculture Scheme to provide relief to individuals and firms engaged in agriculture in case of unexpected losses. As part of this scheme, the government has earmarked Rs 20 million to subsidise insurance premiums.
As per the Insurance Board’s directive, livestock and poultry insurance provides coverage to all types of cattle and poultry products based on the amount fixed by it. Insurance companies have to calculate the actual losses and pay compensation within 30 days of receipt of application. Insurance payment for a high-breed cow in case of losses due to unusual happenings amounts up to Rs 150,000.
Similarly, the crop insurance scheme covers production costs until the crops are ready for harvest. The production cost is defined on the basis of the statistics and guideline prescribed by the Ministry of Agriculture Development.
As per the directive, cultivation should be done on more than 8 annas of land in the hilly region and 1 kattha of land in the Tarai to qualify for insurance coverage.
Source: The Kathmandu Post