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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Insurance coverage for outbound workers

The Financial Express

The government is adopting a policy that will pave the way for having mandatory life insurance coverage for Bangladeshis going abroad with jobs, aiming to help protect expatriate workers from any unforeseen risks, official sources said.

"Framing of a new policy is underway mainly to introduce a provision making it mandatory for a Bangladeshi worker to hold a life insurance policy for working abroad," a senior government official told the FE.

The government has initiated to frame such policy in order to help expatriate Bangladeshi workers and their families reduce vulnerability in case of their death and other health-related problems while working abroad, said the official.

Another objective of the proposed policy is to ensure welfare of the expatriate workers that are now sending home nearly US$ 9.50 billion worth of remittance per annum, he added.

The government, according to officials, has already decided, in principle, to devise the policy and is now scrutinising the pros and cons about its possible guidelines.

The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) in consultation with other relevant government agencies, including the Chief Controller and Insurance (CCI), and ministries of health, law and foreign affairs, is drafting the proposed policy.

"It (the draft policy) is expected to be finalised shortly after fine-tuning some of the important provisions," said an official.

The official close to the policy initiative said the authorities are now studying some of the issues including payment system of premium and integration of life insurance companies with the process.

A study is underway as to whether the outbound workers will pay their premium at a time or installment basis, officials said.

Apart from the payment of premium, the authorities are also framing the policy in such a manner so that the introduction of the mandatory insurance policy does not cause any additional burden or hassle for the overseas-going workers, they mentioned.

"The outbound Bangladeshi workers are learnt to have been harassed by some manpower recruiting agencies. The authorities are actively looking into the matter so that the provision of obtaining insurance policy does not create further problems for them," said an official.

Against the backdrop, the government is considering setting necessary criteria for the sake of rational and equal participation of life insurers in the process of having insurance policies for the outbound workers, he added.

Due to the absence of such insurance coverage, many of the expatriate workers have to face insecurity in case of their physical injuries, officials said, adding that sometimes their families become totally helpless because of it.



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