The Consumer Council of Fiji is concerned with the recent announcement made by BIMA insurance on the closure of its operations in Fiji without providing any alternatives or refunds to loyal consumers who have an insurance policy with their company.
The closure would leave close to 7500 BIMA customers at a loss as they lose out on their premiums completely.
Responding to queries from the Council, BIMA Insurance has indicated they have no plans to transfer insurance policies to the principal underwriter, Dominion Insurance.
There is also a lack of disclosure on the role Dominion Insurance will play in this termination of service. BIMA has been in operation in Fiji for over four years. They collected premiums largely from Digicel network customers who signed up to one of their policies by way of automatic
deductions upon recharge.
The policies were slated to bring simple, affordable micro insurance products to low-income, rural and underserved communities in Fiji. The deductions ranged from $2.70 per month for Basic Cover to $10.80 for High Cover with Life Insurance and Hospitalisation Insurance offered. BIMA customers are from all across the country with a majority from the Suva area covering 25 per cent of their customer base.
BIMA should ensure they provide some form of alternative to consumers that will be affected by the closure of their business. It is unconscionable conduct to simply withdraw their services and leave consumers at a disadvantage.
The Council is also calling on regulators to ensure that there are robust consumer protection mechanisms in place to assess the worthiness of new providers and to protect poor and vulnerable consumers