Key takeaways from the 13th IMC

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

As the 13th International Microinsurance Conference (13th IMC) came to a close last week in Lima, Peru, a number of key takeaways were delineated by Maria Victoria Saenz, Lead Operations Specialist at the Multilateral Investment Fund of the IDB and former Network Board member; Doubell Chamberlain, Chair of the Board at Microinsurance Network; Eduardo Moron, President of APESEG; and Dirk Reinhard, Vice Chairman at Munich Re Foundation, during the closing session. Here below a brief summary of some of these key takeaways:

  • Governments need to be involved: A reccurring theme during the conference was the need for government involvement for creating an enabling environment which allows microinsurance to thrive. To this end sector players must get better at reaching out to governments and building bridges so that governments become more aware of their role within the development of the sector.
  • Insurance associations have an important role to play in helping generate data and awareness and the broader development of the industry. In Latin America and the Caribbean, where accessibility of data has and continues to be a challenge, insurance associations can and, in many cases, have been helping to generate data and awareness.
  • The 2016 Landscape of microinsurance study shows interesting preliminary results: Increasing coverage, the alignment of distribution channels with their main interests, the drastic reduction of commissions (to be further reviewed in the final study), and, among other, the incredible growth of microinsurance in countries such as Brazil, Nicaragua, PerĂº and Mexico.
  • PerĂº’s microinsurance regulation and the innovation of the industry are the result of a deliberate introspective analysis and research.
  • The development of catastrophic insurance needs to be accelerated to enable adequate protection of farmers, households and SMEs, and help stabilize government’s budgets.
  • There is huge potential in the use of technologies in microinsurance and the sector needs to keep pushing for innovation, integration and adoption of new technologies in the microinsurance space. Next year’s conference in Zambia will be a great opportunity to see what new technologies are emerging. Whilst technology disruption is going to profoundly affect the insurance industry in the developed world, it will allow fragmented, disaggregated economies to bring consumers closer.
  • The importance of a consumer centric approach cannot be overstated: The sector needs to listen to the end consumer and learn from their experiences to improve products. In the end, the sector must respond to the question of value. If a business proposition does not hold value for the consumer it will not work. The nature of insurance is changing with a shift from transferring risks to managing risks. If our work ends up benefitting the consumers we are catering for, then we are all better off.
  • A multi-stakeholder approach is key: All stakeholders have an important role to play, from companies raising consumer awareness to regulators evolving to adapt to sector innovations. Innovations come from bringing together all players, involving multi-disciplinary, multi-national and multi-age teams. We need the right people around the table first. The topics will follow.

The conference concluded with thanks from Dirk Reinhard from the Munich Re Foundation, particularly to the APESEG team, supported by Seminarium, who handled the logistics on the ground, and the Microinsurance Network.

Next year’s conference will take place in Lusaka, Zambia, November 6-8. Shipango Muteto, Managing Director of Zep Re Zambia, emphasized the Government’s commitment to the microinsurance space, with Zambia launching their financial inclusion strategy last week.