IRDA in India allows firms to offer all-in-one life and health insurance cover
Business Standard, 23 December 2009
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) today allowed insurance companies to offer 'Health plus Life Combi Product', a policy that would provide life cover along with health insurance to subscribers.
Under the guidelines issued by the IRDA, the life and non-life insurance firms can come together to offer health-plus-life cover.
"It is envisaged that the proposed product class will enhance the penetration of personal lines of insurance business with a wider product choice to policyholders," it said while issuing the guidelines.
Under the existing structure, non-life insurers do not provide pure life insurance products.
The IRDA notified the guidelines following representations by the insurance companies for an "umbrella of a single product" to give more choice to a policy subscriber.
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Yet another mobile phone pilot project in India
Financial Chronicle, 18 December 2009
Taking the no-frills mini savings account the mobile way, the State Bank of India and Eko Aspire Foundation plan to roll out the project across Mumbai and Punjab within two months.
“The project aims to give a new dimension to financial inclusion as it targets customers like small business owners, vegetable vendors and students who earn less than Rs 5,000 a month. The mobile transactions enable mini savings bank account holders to deposit, withdraw, remit and check balances – all just by clicking a few buttons on the mobile phone,” said Eko Aspire Foundation Chairman Abhishek Sinha.
Eko is based on the fundamental premise of giving everyone, in particular the ‘unbanked’ a bank account. Eko will train and appoint Kirana / Medical / Fair price shops as Business Correspondent who will act like bank extension counters. This means that customers can avail of banking services including opening of account, remittances, deposits and withdrawals at a SBI Eko Counter in their neighbourhood by simply using a mobile phone. More financial products including micro-insurance, mutual funds, various loans and savings products will soon be introduced.
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Indian National Microinsurance Conference December 10-11th, 2009
PR Newswire, 18 December 2009
The UNDP, in collaboration with design and policy centres- the Centre for Insurance and Risk Management (CIRM) and Centre for Micro Finance (CMF) at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) organised the National Conference on the Status of Microinsurance in India (with special emphasis on states with low HDI) on December 10th and 11th 2009 in New Delhi.
The conference brought together key players in the nascent microinsurance industry. From Mr. K. N. Rao, Deputy General Manager, AIC to Mr. V. Saikumar, Officer on Special Duty, IRDA, the commitment and passion of the market and Government, in encouraging microinsurance as a sustainable tool for protecting the poor, was clear to see. Sector specialists such as Dr. Somil Nagpal, Health Specialist, World Bank, and Craig Churchill, Head, Microinsurance Innovation Facility at the ILO highlighted their understated commitment to microinsurance in the country. Pioneers from the private sector, such as Mr. Vijay Athreye, Rural Head, TATA-AIG Life Insurance Company and Mr. Amarnath A, CEO, Bharti-Axa General Insurance Company, displayed their willingness to develop innovative products and participate in the process of financial inclusion.
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Premium payments by mobile phone?
Express Computer, 18 December 2009
Green Mobile Money Transfer is a financial inclusion based program. It currently targets migrant workers and facilitates mobile money transfer for them. This service has been launched by Corporation Bank and Tata Indicom along with PayMate in India, which is the technology/platform provider for this initiative.
Tata Indicom brings in its vast distribution network of PCOs across the country with 1 million potential touch points. Corporation Bank, which is completely on the core banking platform, with presence and penetration in geographies of immediate interest to us, for example, the southern corridors, provides the banking platform, and PayMate brings the technology platform to facilitate money transfer across the PCO network using Corporation Bank’s banking platform.
For now, the service is available for migrant workers from Kerala working in Mumbai and Bangalore wanting to remit money back to friends and family in Kerala. This financial inclusion program entails setting up no-frills bank accounts for customers needing to remit money along with providing them other financial services which could include but are not limited to micro-credit, microinsurance, direct government deposits, etc in the long term.
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Insurers take cover in rural India
The Economic Times, 16 December 2009
Consumer goods makers are not the only ones making a beeline for India’s villages. The country’s 23 life insurance companies and the 21
general insurance firms are experimenting and innovating in terms of product development, pricing policy and the delivery channels to grab a larger pie of the under-penetrated rural India after sales began to plateau in cities and towns.
“There is an increasing realisation that the needs of the rural India and urban poor aren’t much different from the urban middle class whom the insurers are catering to,” said TR Ramchandra, CEO of Aviva Life insurance. Insurance companies, which used to service these segments just to comply with IRDA norms, seem to have realised the potential of rural India.
According to a Max New York Life-NCAER survey, only 19% of the country’s rural households have life insurance cover, compared with the figure of 38% for urban families. The challenge for the service providers is to find delivery channels to cater to these markets.
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IICA participates in Agriculture Risk Insurance Seminar in Guyana
Caribbean Net News, 15 December 2009
“Without effective risk management poverty reduction will not occur; insurance is an essential risk management tool,” warned David Hatch, Associate Deputy Director General, of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
Hatch spoke before representatives of the public and private sectors during the ‘Symposium on Agricultural Risk and Insurance,’ held in Georgetown, Guyana, December 7-9.
Launched by the government of Guyana, the Objectives of the Symposium are to bring together key stakeholders to give a synopsis of the predominant risk factors affecting the agriculture sector of Guyana, and to lay the foundation and understanding of the main tenets of an overarching agricultural sector risk management strategy for Guyana and the main policies and instruments that could be employed within that strategy.
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Down to the wire on adaptation money
IRIN News, 14 December 2009
Should there be an international insurance facility to help poor countries alleviate the impact of climate-related risks? Should they be compensated for losses to their developmental goals by slow-onset events like droughts? These were among the tougher debates at the final week of the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen.
New disaster statistics released in Copenhagen on 14 December showed that extreme weather events and natural hazards killed thousands of people, affected millions, and cost economies billions of dollars, underlining the need to help poor countries adapt now, said Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization.
Of the 245 disasters in 2009, 224 were weather related, accounting for 55 million people of the 58 million affected, 7,000 of the 8,900 killed, and causing US$15 billion of the $19 billion in economic damages, CRED's data from January to November 2009 showed.
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Insurers push for financing package to help the poor
Business Daily Africa, 15 December 2009
The world’s major insurance companies have warned that some risks resulting from weather-related disasters may become uninsurable if no action is taken to reverse climate change.
“Climate change must be tackled now if insurers are to continue to play their fullest role in managing climate risk,” said Andrew Torrance, Chairman of ClimateWise, a grouping of 40 insurance companies.
“If governments fail to act today, substantial markets may become uninsurable tomorrow. A new international deal is ultimately in all of our interests. Delay is not an option,” said Mr Torrance, who is also the CEO of Allianz Insurance.
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Expert Points to Need for Microinsurance in Nigeria as Insurance Penetration Rate Worsens
Micro Capital, 14 December 2009
According to the Managing Director of Insurance Brokers of Nigeria, Mr Prosper Okpue, the insurance penetration rate of Nigeria continues to worsen. His statement comes over a year after the World Bank issued a report citing that the Nigerian insurance industry had remained stagnant for 35 years and its world market share stood at a mere 0.01 percent (compared with South Africa’s 0.83%).
The former president of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers attributed this to the fact that, “Only companies or government ministries will pay premium for their group life insurance. What happens to the informal sector where the bulk of the population can be found carrying out legitimate economic activities?” In response to the issue, Mr Okpue proposed a microinsurance scheme that would “help the people integrate insurance into their lives.”
Copenhagen: What could be the Bangladesh strategy?
The Daily Star, 9 December 2009
The UNFCCC-led universal multilateralism has been relegated to some non-voting observer status in the whole drama. The walkout of the 51 African countries for a day on November 4 in Barcelona, led by the Ethiopian leader, is a loud protest, but it seems to have no significant impact on the remaining two days of deliberations.
At the New York Climate Summit in September last, the protest statement of the exasperated Maldives President Mr. Nasheed of his unwillingness to come any more to the charade of climate talks can be cited as another case of extreme frustration. The outcomes of 8 round of negotiations since COP-13 in Bali can be compared to the Doha Round of trade talks -- launched 8 years ago and still struggling to overcome the rich-poor rift -- to scale back subsidies in the North in return for market access to the South.
Microinsurance Protects Poor Farmers Facing Increasing Risks from Climate Change
Solve Climate, Reporting from Copenhagen, 8 December 2009
Certainty is a luxury. When you’re rich, you can insure anything that isn’t certain. But when you’re poor and growing crops in Malawi, herding sheep in Mongolia, or sowing rice in Bangladesh, you’re at the mercy of the weather, a fickle force made even more so by climate change.
The governments of developing countries are already partly reliant on microfinance schemes to alleviate poverty. Now, several groups are calling for international support for a different type of microfinance — microinsurance — to help mitigate the risks posed by severe and abnormal weather patterns brought on by global warming.
Consider a farmer in Malawi who takes out a loan to buy seed for groundnuts, a common financial scenario among poor farmers in the region.
HEAL Africa's Prenatal Care and Microinsurance Program
Heal Africa website, 6 December 2009
HEAL Africa's Safe Motherhood Prenatal Care and Micro-Insurance program is an extremely innovative initiative that increases access to health care for birthing mothers. Women of reproductive age pay into maternity micro-insurance groups that ensure that they can receive proper medical support through pregnancy, delivery and neo-natal care. The insurance groups are locally managed on a micro-level, with each member paying into the program and each member receiving the needed support from an appropriate, health facility when it is their turn to have a child. The appropriate level of medical care might be care from a retrained traditional birth attendant, the local health center, or a local hospital. Early screening and prenatal care is essential to identifying high-risk deliveries and assessing the needed care levels for birthing mothers.
Free Clinics in Pakistan Promote Microinsurance for Healthcare
Hunza Times on The Ismaili News, 26 November 2009
Several hundred clients of the First Microinsurance Agency (FMiA) in Karachi were offered basic outpatient care, along with information on health insurance, in a new programme designed to make poor people aware of micro insurance services and their benefits. The clinics, which are sponsored by FMiA, are run by two qualified doctors.
IFC Helps Expand Access to Natural Disaster Insurance for Emerging Market Farmers
International Finance Corporation, 2 December 2009
International Finance Corporation (IFC), in partnership with the European Commission and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, launched on the 2nd December 2009 a program to help farmers and others in developing countries more easily access insurance for natural disasters to protect themselves from weather-related risks. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.
The Global Index Insurance Facility is an index-based insurance scheme that insures against certain catastrophic events, depending on their severity. For example, insurance will be paid out in the event of a wind storm of a certain category, or an earthquake registering a certain magnitude on the Richter scale.
Index-linked insurance products eliminate the need for insurance companies to individually verify claims, reducing transaction costs and making it easier for them to offer products and services in rural communities and in frontier regions, where insurance is rarely available.
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Munich Re $10bn climate insurance pool on Copenhagen agenda
Insurance Insider, 4 December 2009
Munich Re is pushing a $10bn climate insurance pool scheme for inclusion in the final Copenhagen Document due to emerge from the United Nations Climate Change Conference this month.
Munich Re's head of Geo Risks Research, Peter Höppe, told The Insurance Insider that the initiative would compel industrial polluters to pay the premium for a $5bn insurance pool to cover the biggest climate-related risks in developing countries.
The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) proposes a further $2bn for local microinsurance schemes - insurance for low income individuals - in the developing world, and another $3bn for preventative measures, such as flood barriers and population relocation, to reduce the risk of climate-related losses in the first place.
Höppe, who is attending the summit which runs from 7-18 December, said: "We have been negotiating over many months to have items from the MCII programme incorporated into the final Copenhagen Document.
Warba Insurance unveils 'Microinsurance Policy' in Kuwait
Kuwait Times, 24 November 2009
For over three decades, Warba Insurance Company K.S.C. has been providing all types of insurance services relating to general, health, travel, life, etc. Warba Insurance Company (WIC) launched a new product: the 'Microinsurance Policy'. This was announced during a press conference held yesterday at its headquarters.
To fulfil their social obligation towards the expatriates community, the company has launched a new Microinsurance Policy in order to provide affordable protection to the community.
Microinsurance Policy provides basic Life Insurance, Double Accident, Disability covers due to Accident and Repatriation benefits, etc. "All these benefits are offered with premiums less than KD 10. So if you divide this amount, it makes about 700 Fils only per month," noted Osama Al-Wazzan, Senior Manager, Life Insurance Department.
This type of insurance is popular all over the world. The workers or labourers here are only covered during their working hours by the Labour Law, thus the Microinsurance Policy will offer them peace of mind and safely feeling. Warba's objective is to provide protection to all nationalities with affordable premiums thereby providing family financial security," he further said.
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