Ghanaian Finance Minister urges insurance companies to extend products to rural areas
Joy Business, 23 March 2010
The Finance Minister has asked insurance companies to do more to ensure their services are available to people living in rural areas.
Dr. Kwabena Duffuor says the unavailability of insurance products in such areas means the agricultural sector which sustains the economy is deprived of industry’s services.
“If we say over 60 percent of our people are engaged in Agriculture, and until now there is no insurance product available for this critical sector of our economy, then I can say that there is a big gap in our product design that must engage the attention of all of you,” he indicated.
“Secondly, when bankers shy away from microfinance and SMEs face serious challenges, it’s because of the absence of microinsurance; the two should work hand-in-hand,” he stressed.
The Finance Minister was speaking at a meeting of West Africa Insurance Companies (WAICA) in Accra on how they can best exploit the oil and gas discovery to the benefit of Ghana and other African countries.
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Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines - Lessons learnt from El Niņo
Manila Standard Today, 22 March 2010
Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines president Joseph Omar Andaya said rural banks would remain committed to provide the banking needs of the so-called unserved and undeserved segments of the market. Rural banks have offered loan rescheduling to farmers amid the adverse effects of the prolonged El Niño dry spell and help to those who want to engage in other businesses.
“We will also start offering microinsurance packages to better prepare farmers and SMEs to secure their future. We cannot lose these sectors given that our businesses are closely intertwined with their successes and failures,” he said.
Rebuilding Haiti's earthquake-shattered economy: Agriculture, Rum and Insurance
Bradenton.com, 18 March 2010
The economic costs of Haiti's Jan. 12 earthquake have shown it to be the most destructive natural disaster for any one country in modern times. Estimates from the InterAmerican Development Bank put the cost of rebuilding Haiti at anywhere from $8 billion to $14 billion -- at the high end, that's twice the size of Haiti's total economy last year.
We looked at three areas in which people are starting to rebuild Haiti's economy, and oone of these is insurance. Insurance is a rarity in Haiti, and few people can afford coverage that does exist.
That makes the devastation following the earthquake even more painful for street vendors or others who lost not just their homes, but in many cases their inventory and source of livelihood.
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Long-term index insurance activities: call for research proposals
17 March 2010
I4 invites researchers to submit seed grant proposals to develop and establish the feasibility of long-term pilot activities that will design, market and evaluate innovative index insurance contracts targeted at improving the lives and livelihoods of small-scale agricultural or pastoral households.
Seed grants will provide $20,000 to underwrite the costs of the partnership development and the preliminary analysis necessary to prepare a full proposal for a long-term pilot activity. After approval, full proposals for three to four year activities will be funded at levels of up to $1 million dollars.
China Post Life launches Rural Individual Life Microinsurance Pilot
Insurancenewsnet.com, 16 March 2010
China Post Life Insurance Co. Ltd. won approval to start a pilot programme for rural individual life microinsurance, said the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. The Beijing-based insurer will be required to coordinate with domestic insurance regulators to decide which rural districts are suitable to run the trial programme, according to the CIRC.
Under the pilot programme, China Post Life is allowed to provide three trial lines, including term life insurance, rural migrant workers' accident injury insurance and micro-credit accident injury insurance, said the regulator.
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Kenyan Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) commissions microinsurance landscape survey
The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) has commissioned a new landscape survey of the microinsurance market in Kenya with a view to establishing challenges that could hinder its full implementation in the market.
IRA said at the weekend that findings from the research which commences today under the stewardship of a South African consulting firm will be presented to insurance stakeholders next month for debate, to inform amendments to the Insurance Act so as to facilitate a rapid penetration of microinsurance in the country.
The CEO indicated that Kenya was only second to South Africa, in delivery of microinsurance products. He noted that already, Kenyan insurers were offering some forms of micro insurance.
"In light of Kenya's pioneering role with MPESA money transfer service which has revolutionalised access to money even among the low-income tier of the society, we believe that its only a matter of time before we have multiple products for this market segment," Makove said.
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FICCO Mutual Benefit Association Philippines publishing 2009 figures
Philippine Information Agency, 11 March 2010
The First Community Cooperative (FICCO) is now considered as the biggest community cooperative in the country, pouring a total asset of Php3.68-billion, deposits of PHP 1.6-billion and common shares of PHP 1.32 billion with a total membership of 129,493 at the end of 2009.
FICCO has also established Mutual Benefit Association in response to government initiatives in pushing microinsurance to help the poor mitigate risks. Said cooperative MBA has generated a total premium of PHP 50 million in 2009, up to 92% from the previous year's PHP 26 million.
With about 16 branches and business centers all over Mindanao, Chairman Daba emphasised that FICCO keeps on growing stronger because of the members' trust and confidence on its management, while "we develop culture that focuses on quality service, good governance, sacrifice, volunteerism, and efficiency."
Microinsurance figures demonstrate readiness for insurance in Kenya
Business Daily, 10 March 2010
Insurance companies are speeding up the search for new distribution channels to cover a bigger market. Conventional agents who are the face of the industry and limited direct sales by in-house contacts have failed to make meaningful impact on individual policy sales.
Revenue growth has been relatively slower yet evidence especially based on sale of microinsurance business shows more Kenyans are ready for the services. Although industry has consistently recorded growth in the last seven years, the gross premium volumes that topped Sh51.9 billion in 2008 are seen as too low for an industry with 43 players.
Growing new distribution channels for individual life products will be one of the key business growth plans for Pan Africa Insurance this year, said the company’s CEO, Tom Gitogo. “(We shall) focus on our relationship with banks to provide insurance solutions to their customers,” he said.
Life cover volumes remained at Sh1.5 billion in the year ended December 31, 2009 while corporate business grew by 50 per cent to Sh1.5 billion.
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Allianz Indonesia aims to strengthen microinsurance services
The Jakarta Post, 9 March 2010
Allianz Indonesia, supported by two subsidiaries Allianz Utama and Allianz Life, is targeting to increase its premium revenues and assets by more than 10 percent this year through market and product expansion.
Allianz Indonesia plans to increase its premium revenues from Rp 4.3 trillion (US$472 million) in 2009 to Rp 5 trillion in 2010 and its assets from Rp 9 trillion to Rp 10 trillion.
President director of Allianz Life Indonesia Jens Reisch said in Jakarta on Tuesday that to reach the targets, Allianz Indonesia would improve its products and services through product innovation such as improving its unit-linked life insurance and strengthening microinsurance. We want to be the best in customer service from the two aspects of products and services,” added Jens. Service wise, new media such as websites and Facebook would also be used to communicate with clients and business partners, added Jens.
In addition, Allianz Indonesia planned to increase the number of its points of sales by, among others, adding bank partners for Allianz Life and account executives for Allianz Utama. “We hope that there will be two to three more bank partners in 2010,” said director of Allianz Life Indonesia, Handojo G. Kusuma.
First microinsurance plan to use mobile phones and weather stations to shield Kenya's farmers
Eurekalert, 5 March 2010
As East Africa recovers from the worst drought in decades, an innovative programme launched today will use a low-cost, mobile phone payment and data system, and automated, solar powered weather stations, to offer thousands of farmers in parts of Western and Central Kenya affordable, "pay as you plant" insurance to protect their investments in desperately needed high-yielding seeds, fertilizers, as well as other farm inputs.
The programme, called "Kilimo Salama," which in Kiswahili means "safe farming," is a partnership between the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, UAP Insurance, and telecoms operator Safaricom. The project will offer farmers who plant on as little as one acre insurance policies to shield them from significant financial losses when drought or excess rain are expected to wreak havoc on their harvests.
"Extreme weather, particularly drought, traps many African farmers in poverty because it robs them of the means to recover," said Marco Ferroni, Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation. "We have in Kilimo Salama a microinsurance strategy that will work. By utilising state-of-the-art risk management tools, revolutionary mobile phone technologies, and the knowledge and expertise of farmers and rural business men and women, we have developed for the first time a model for providing farmers with reliable, low-cost cover from the vagaries of extreme weather."
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Research has provided new information about risk management
Insurance News Net, 4 March 2010
"This article first investigates the microfinance-principally microinsurance-market at the global level and the business structure of over 600 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in 83 countries that were in operation during 1998-2007. It then empirically examines the impact of organisational, market and socio-cultural factors on the supply of insurance, lending and savings services by MFIs in developing countries," scientists in the United States report.
The researchers concluded: "From a series of probit analyses indicate that a rise in the financial expense ratio, loan repayments in arrears, years of operation, number of borrowers, woman borrower ratio, life insurance penetration ratio and family size positively affect MFIs' willingness to expand their operations, certainly to microinsurance business. In contrast, they are likely to stay away from the insurance market when their loan asset ratio, bad loan write-off ratio or average loan size in comparison to GNI per capita is on the rise. It seems MFIs focus on lending service in Muslim populous countries. Finally, we find no evidence that presence of insurance affects availability of savings service, and vice versa, in the microfinance market.
Kwon and colleagues published their study in Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice (An Analysis of Organisational, Market and Socio-cultural Factors Affecting the Supply of Insurance and Other Financial Services by Microfinance Institutions in Developing Economies. Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, 2010;35(1):130-160).
Microinsurance rules are out in the Philippines
Business World, 28 February 2010
Banks selling microinsurance must ensure customers are aware these are not guaranteed by lenders and the state deposit insurer, and make sure that partner insurance firms have the means to protect customers, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.
Circular 683 issued on February 23 but posted on the central bank’s website last Friday stated that thrift, rural and cooperative banks that plan to sell or market microinsurance must ensure clients understand these are not bank products.
“Towards this end, all organic documents, informational and promotional materials used in the presentation and sale of these products shall prominently display both the name of the issuing insurance provider and a clause stating that the insurance product/s... is/are not insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. and is/are not guaranteed by the bank,” it said.
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