BAGHDAD, Iraq – Sadi Jawad is on a mission to help stem the flood of Iraq’s best and brightest out of the war-torn country.
The director of Iraq’s state-owned national insurance company has launched a program that offers the world's first-ever life insurance policy against terror attacks to professors and other business professionals.
“In Iraq, due to the security situation and acts of terrorism, we saw a necessity to introduce a new policy,” Jawad said.
The policy covers death by acts of sectarian violence, terrorism, kidnapping, torture and homicide bombings, in addition to accidental death.
Jawad and his insurance salesmen have their sights set on Iraq's academic and business elite, including bank employees, doctors, telephone company workers and a growing number of private company workers.
Since 2003, Iraq has been drained of many of its academic and business professionals after they became targeted by criminal kidnapping rings and sectarian death squads.
An estimated 250 college professors have been killed in Iraq since then, often accused by their killers of having links to the Saddam-era Baath party, according to some international academic rights groups.
After thousands of Iraqis were killed by roving death squads and terrorist bomb attacks following the bombing of a major Shiite religious shrine in Samarra in 2006, Iraq’s Finance Ministry finally ordered the National Insurance Company to do something to reassure those most in need.
“We felt that the university professors and scientists are the most vulnerable here, so we wanted them protected, so we reached out to them” Jawad told Fox News.
For a premium of between $100 and $200 a year, a lump-sum payment of $3,500 to $7,000 will be paid to family members if the policyholder is killed by a terrorist act.
More than 200 staff members from Baghdad University have signed up.
Dr. Saadi Karim Sahman, dean of the College of Political Sciences at Baghdad University, is one of them. He said that while he appreciates the concept of life insurance to provide for his family after his death, he would prefer more security to simply keep him alive.
“Does insuring me for when I die mean that I can move freely or contribute to society better?" he asked.
It’s a view shared by his students at the university. One student pointed out that while the insurance policy is a good idea, it doesn't insure his future education. "What do we gain if we lose the professor?” he asked.
Jawad said the plan is an attempt to keep frightened professors from simply fleeing by providing some reassurance that their families will be taken care of if the worst happens.
And Jawad admits he has signed up for a policy himself, just in case.
FOX News' John Fiegener contributed to this report.