Poultry insurance anguish adds to bird flu fears

01-02-2008 | |

The bird flu virus in West Bengal has exposed the low penetration of poultry insurance in the eastern part of the country. This comes at a bad time.

According to the Business Standard, poultry insurance in the area is less than 5%. This compares with the national average of about 9-12%, with the majority of the insurance buyers being big hatcheries and poultry farms.
Policies may be re-addressed
It is reported that the problem of under-coverage will cause further aggravation as insurance companies may re-address the policy terms due to regular outbreak of such infections.
“We are planning to redesign the whole policy structure for the poultry insurance schemes, as this flu is on the rise,” said an executive of an insurance company. The policies, in general, provide indemnity against death of birds due to accident (fire, lightning, flood, etc) or diseases contracted during the insurance period.
The claims-to-premium ratio with respect to poultry insurance in the eastern region is about 150%. This is less than the national average of 200%. According to the executive, this ratio is on the rise due to other infectious diseases as well.
Higher sum for private schemes
The sum assured under the private schemes is Rs 45 for broilers and Rs 75 for layers. This compares with Rs 15 and Rs 25 respectively under government schemes.
Banks’ exposure to poultry loans account for less than 1% of their overall rural exposure as self-help groups (SHGs) play a vital role in credit disbursement in the rural areas.
“No SGH takes loans for poultry farming. It is only the individuals who are interested in this segment and hence the exposure is low,” said Ambarisha Nanda, chairman, Bangiya Gramin Vikash Bank.

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