Delegates from Cenfri recently attended the 8th International Microinsurance Conference (IMC) hosted by the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to participate, facilitate and present on behalf of the FinMark Trust. To learn more about what was discussed at the IMC Conference please look out for the 8th International Microinsurance Conference Report that will soon be made available by the Munich Re Foundation.
The IMC was a major success and many congratulations are in order for the efforts of hosts, as well as their supporters. The delegates from Cenfri were honoured to have the following roles:
- Hennie Bester presented the Tanzania Access to Insurance diagnostic at the Agenda setting for microinsurance in Tanzania parallel session. The complete set of documents for the Tanzania Access to Insurance Diagnostic are available here.
- Managing Director Doubell Chamberlain facilitated the plenary session on mutuality – Is mutuality the missing link in microinsurance? – while Strategic Advisor and Regulatory Expert Hennie Bester facilitated parallel sessions on consumer protection and supervision – Consumer protection for the low-income market and regulation and supervision and policy in intermediation of microinsurance.
- Katherine Gibson, specialist consultant working with Cenfri and the FinMark Trust, presented her experience in drafting microinsurance policy at the Consumer protection for the low-income market parallel session. Bhairav Raja, research associate, presented the draft findings of an on-going project exploring the insurance aspect of harmonisation in the SADC region at the pre-conference Regulation, supervision and policy seminar and participated in the meeting of the Joint Working Group on Microinsurance.
For Cenfri, it was amazing to see at the conference not only how many new and diverse faces are now interested in microinsurance – especially from the private sector – but also the quality of the discussions taking place. The International Microinsurance Conference provides a platform to learn about what others have done – and are doing – in the space and through this provide inputs from Cenfri’s experience supporting financial sector development and financial inclusion through facilitating better regulation and market provision of financial services.
The outcome of efforts made by the microinsurance community has been extensively documented and highlighted by the release of the International Association for Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) Application Paper on Regulation and Supervision supporting Inclusive Insurance Markets where it states:
“Governments recognise that enhanced access to insurance services helps reduce poverty and improve social and economic development. Regulated insurers and intermediaries are seeing the business potential of the low-income population and are offering innovative products and distribution models.”
In light of this, the Cenfri team would like to highlight two key themes that really stood out at the conference and fit in within the context of their work described above:
- The shift from quantity to quality. The last decade in microinsurance has seen a huge increase in both the quantity of actors in the space, as well as the number of clients making use of microinsurance products. The recognition of the potential insurance holds led to one of the key underlying themes of this year’s microinsurance conference – the need to focus on the quality of the products being provided to realize that potential. Practitioners, regulators, donors and technical assistance providers alike are all in agreement that for this industry to be sustainable clients need to have a positive market discovery. Positive market discovery depends on clients receiving value through products that meet their risk mitigation needs. The conference provided a constant reminder that the claims process must be a simple one and payment must be responsive with case studies highlighting that paying claims is still the best form of marketing. To this end, tools have been developed to assess client value by both the Microinsurance Centre (Client Math) and the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility (PACE).
- Proactive consumer protection. In line with the excerpt from the IAIS Application Paper above, regulators are opting to facilitate inclusive markets by reducing entry requirements for new categories of intermediaries able to distribute insurance through new and innovative channels. This open architecture approach results in more players in the market and supervisory duties that are potentially beyond the current capacity of national insurance supervisors. As a result the focus of regulators is shifting to increasing consumer protection as a proactive approach to controlling the quality of products being offered and the conduct of markets participants. A variety of consumer protection tools are being deployed ranging from more direct oversight over product design (through a file and use approach), delegating supervision to licensed insurers, and simplifying consumer recourse mechanisms. The move away from controlling entry to controlling quality supports inclusive insurance markets while helping regulators to manage their capacity. Regulators are finding that by monitoring abuse, filing products and supervising contracts between intermediaries and insurers they can bridge the gap between market expansion and market quality.
Interested in learning more about what Cenfri’s up to?
Cenfri in collaboration with the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility will be presenting its Programme in Microinsurance Business Strategies for African Markets for the first time outside of South Africa in Nairobi Kenya, in April of 2013. Click here to check out the write-up from the programme in Cape Town in July 2012
If you are interested in attending the training in Kenya please email David Saunders at David@cenfri.org for more information.