Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Tongan Seasonal Workers Need Full Insurance Policies
Recent death raises questions over paying to repatriate remains

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 21, 2013) – A liaison officer supporting Tongan workers and employers in New Zealand on the Recognized Seasonal Employer scheme is calling for a more comprehensive insurance policy in the event of death.

Sefita Haouli says an RSE worker from Tonga recently died in New Zealand, but there was uncertainty and stress as to who would pay for the body’s repatriation to Tonga.

He says in this case, the family was lucky that the insurance company paid, despite the cause of death still being investigated.

Mr. Haouli says the incident highlights the current policy falls short.

"Pre-existing conditions could well be unknown to him or to her. And only in the event of a death will that be known, and of course by then, our view is it could well be too late to argue as to who will be responsible for meeting the cost of the deceased for repatriation. And that’s an issue we are moving now to address."

Sefita Haouli says the next step is to meet with all stakeholders and the insurance company and discuss how to improve the policy and the possible cost of premiums for doing so.

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