About 1.22 million fishermen inChina have become members of a mutual insurance network named China Fishery Shipowners Mutual Insurance Association (CFPI) with 43,700 fishing boats covered.
The CFPI, China's first non-governmental mutual insurance organization, has handled 19,000 cases and paid a total 140 million yuan in the seven years since it was founded.
The association now has a reserve fund of 47 million yuan, mainly coming from the premiums collected from members as a nonprofit group, the CFPI source said Saturday when the association held its second national conference here.
Vice Minister of Agriculture Qi Jingfa said at the conference that the mutual insurance among fishermen is a more effective way to guard their safety and property than other insurance programs, as fishermen face obvious risks on the job.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, China suffers a loss of 4 billion yuan annually due to shipwreck and other disasters inthe ocean.
Some State-owned insurance companies had been offering coverageto fishermen backed by the government before the mutual network was developed.
"But as companies seeking profits, they will turn their back onsome risky programs and those programs are usually what fishermen really need," said a CFPI official Sun Yingshi.
"Many fishing boats are made of wood with small engine power and this makes them more vulnerable to accidents," he said. "Theseboats are usually not covered by insurance programs."
About 40 percent of fishing boats covered by the CFPI program have engine power of less than 60 HP; the association also offers coverage to those boats with less than 40 HP.
"When it comes to the damage of fishing boats, the CFPI finishes the checkup more quickly than ordinary insurance companies as its employees are familiar with fishing," said Chen Wenliang, a community worker from Qingdao of east China's ShandongProvince. Chen has close contact with about 400 fisherman familiesin his community.
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