In 2014, Cenfri engagement manager Mia Thom attended the “Microinsurance Learning Sessions – Protecting the Working Poor” from the 8th to 10th of September in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon. The learning sessions were hosted by Conférence Interafricaine des Marchés d’Assurances (CIMA) as part of a larger agenda to develop insurance markets to better serve lower-income people. CIMA is the insurance policymaker and regulator for 14 West African countries.
Mia presented on the “Drivers of Demand” which looked at the drivers of insurance usage from Cenfri’s diagnostic and demand-side work. The presentation introduces the difference between need versus use of insurance and unpacks what needs to be understood by government and business to drive use.
The recent Microinsurance Landscape Study in Africa revealed that despite growth in microinsurance, West Africa and Central Africa still lag behind East Africa and Southern Africa in terms of the number of lives covered. West Africa has experienced the highest growth rate since 2008 but has been largely driven by Ghana and Senegal, and total coverage in the region is estimated at only 4.4 million lives. Further, CIMA reports that amongst member countries insurance penetration is around 1% (Ngbwa, 2011).
To support market development CIMA released specific and separate microinsurance regulation for its member countries. The learning sessions provided an opportunity to encourage providers to enter the market by exposing them to the key issues, opportunities and areas of innovation in this market. Nearly 350 participants attended from 24 countries and it was the largest conference aimed at sharing experiences among CIMA member countries since the 5th International Microinsurance Conference that took place in Senegal in 2009.