A new cattle insurance scheme based on a digital health tracking system was rolled out yesterday jointly by Phoenix Insurance and ShurjoMukhi Ltd.
The product, Shurjomukhi Pranisheba, will ensure prevent inbreeding, early detection of health disorders, monitoring of calves and continuous measurement of temperature, officials said at the launch in InterContinental Dhaka.
A biosensor or bolus is placed inside the stomach of an animal for at least five years, which the officials said does not create any adverse reaction.
To avail the product, a farmer will have to pay Tk 500 monthly for every cattle and the premium of insurance ranges from 2.75 percent to 5.5 percent on the sum of the insured value of cattle. The insurance risk coverage is for death, theft, and permanent, total disability.
Md Ashraf Ali Khan Khasru, state minister for fisheries and livestock, said the insurance premium and the monthly payment for the digital service is quite high for the poor farmers.
“So, insurers can think of promoting the product as a service, not as a business tool primarily. Once its penetration deepens, it will be a sustainable product.”
Insurers also should not incur losses. Otherwise, they will feel discouraged to come forward with agricultural insurance, the state minister added.
Khasru said the livestock sector is growing fast aided by digitalisation and Shurjomukhi Pranisheba is another addition that will drive digitalisation further.
Shykh Seraj, founder director and head of news of Channel i, said if farmers ignore digitalisation for their farms, they will suffer.
“Digitalisation is inevitable, but it should be win-win both for farmers and innovators. Otherwise, both will be impacted.”
Seraj said Phoenix Insurance can see whether the policy is cost-effective for farmers. The government can also come up with a subsidy programme to help farmers buy the insurance policy that will ultimately improve the livestock sector.
“Due to the absence of historical database on cattle deaths, re-insurers don’t want to lower the premium,” said Gokul Chand Das, a member of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority.
With the help of digitalisation, a database will be prepared. Then insurers will realise that the death rate of livestock is low, which may prompt them to reduce the premium, he said.
He said the risk reduction for farmers, not the profit, should be the main goal of the insurance policy.
Md Raisul Alam Mondal, fisheries and livestock secretary, said such an insurance policy would be helpful for the livestock sector because any accident facing an animal may hamper a farmer badly.
“Our ministry will be with you to provide any policy support but the product should be win-win for the farmers and the insurers.”
Fida Haq, managing director and chief executive officer of ShurjoMukhi Ltd, Mohammed Shoeb, chairman of Phoenix Insurance, Feisal Hussain, team leader of the Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh, Abdul Jabbar Sikder, acting director general of the livestock department, and Nathu Ram Sarker, director general of Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, also spoke.