Develop policy for human and wildlife conflict, insurers told

The Government has called on the insurance industry to develop a policy to cater for human-wildlife conflict compensation.

Najib Balala (pictured), cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife, told the industry to consider embracing innovative schemes to meet the increasing demand from claimants.

“The Wildlife Act 2013 that acknowledged monetary compensation as the solution has become too expensive for the government,” Balala said last week during a consultative forum on human-wildlife compensation in Nairobi.

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He said that claimants took advantage of this system to make fraudulent claims at the expense of genuine cases, making causes of human-wildlife conflict unmanageable and unsustainable.

“The insurance industry should seize the business opportunity by complementing the government efforts in mitigating the expenses that arise due to human-wildlife conflicts,” Balala said.

He told stakeholders from insurance and wildlife conservationists that during 2014-2018, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) received 14,000 claims amounting to Sh10 billion.

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Stopped paying

During the period, 494 people died from human wildlife conflicts while 333 died from snake bites, he said.

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“In the 2018-2019, the government allocated 4 million dollars as compensation allocations and has earmarked 5.4 million dollars for the 2019-2020,” Balala said.

He said the Government is totally overwhelmed by the numbers of claims since the amount required exceeds KWS annual revenue of $30 million (Sh3 billion).

He said the Government has stopped paying out compensation from snake bites and has instead engaged in stocking health facilities with anti-venom medicine and creating awareness in collaboration with the ministry of health officials.

Balala said that the ongoing dialogue and wide consultation will help create a clear way forward on policy and alternative mechanisms of compensation.

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InsuranceHuman and wildlife conflictKenya Wildlife Service