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Call for questions! Microinsurance podcast on the role of brokers in microinsurance

Within the context of the Network's 10 year anniversary, a microinsurance podcast (audio interview) with Richard Leftley on the role of brokers in microinsurance is being organised. The objective of this first of three podcasts is to raise the awareness of specific topics in microinsurance and allow experts the opportunity to share their opinions.

To ensure we cover all aspects of the topic, we would like you to send in any questions you would like us to ask Richard regarding the role of brokers in microinsurance, the challenges they face and important innovations. The aim of the interview is be informative and specialised, but also fun, so anecdotal questions will be welcome too.

Please send your questions to the Network (Deadline: Monday 9 April 2012)


Rehan Butt wrote:

In my part of the world, brokers, limited in number, are busy pursuing big commercial line accounts particularly marine, aviation and transport. This market carries great potential for microinsurance, now with the given kind of attitude from brokers, what will motivate them looking at microinsurance characterized by low tickets, high administration cost associated with large volumes, upfront investment and R&D reqiurements?

H.R.H. Princess Máxima of the Netherlands to open 2012 Research Conference on Microinsurance

Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands will give the opening speech at the 2012 Research Conference on Microinsurance, which is being hosted by the Research Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies of the University of Twente.

As United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate on 'Inclusive Finance for Development', she has been advocating worldwide access to financial services for all. Since June 2011 she is also the honorary chair of the G20 'Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion'.

The 2012 Research Conference on Microinsurance aims to present the state of microinsurance research on product design, demand, impact and institutional questions. In addition it will provide a platform for academic discussions among researchers from different disciplines and all parts of the world.

The conference is being organised by IGS (Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies), in collaboration with the African Studies Centre (ASC), Microinsurance Network (MIN), Center for Economic Analysis of Risk (CEAR), Munich Re Foundation, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), University of Mannheim, ILO's Microinsurance Innovation Facility, Appui au Développement Autonome (ADA) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Registration deadline: 30 March 2012

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Learning sessions in Ghana

The National Insurance Commission of Ghana, in cooperation with GIZ, will organise the learning sessions in partnership with the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network, with the main objective of providing a learning and networking platform for the key stakeholders in the Ghanaian public and private insurance sector as well as in civil society.

The event, which will take place between 22 and 23 May 2012 in Accra, Ghana, will take into account the current situation in Ghana and provide international perspectives on the challenges and opportunities involved in providing microinsurance services. The two-day event will focus mainly on two key aspects: Enabling demand-oriented supply, and understanding and responding to demand needs.

The event is intended to be an incubator of new ideas where participants consider their adaptation and practical implementation to the Ghanaian market. Rather than simply presenting ideas, sessions will be designed to focus on the future and how issues and lessons can be transformed for use in Ghana.

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Everything depends on you: When microinsurance goes Bollywood

As part of the Microinsurance Awareness Season, the Microinsurance Network and Appui au Dévelopmmement Autonome (ADA) hosted with the support of the Micro Insurance Academy (MIA), the Luxembourg Association des Compagnies d’Assurances (ACA), and the Chambre de Commerce Luxembourg, an event in Luxembourg on microinsurance, which focused on the importance of informing low-income populations on the benefits of insurance.

The event, which was attended by over 70 people from the local insurance, financial and development sectors, consisted of the screening of a Bollywood movie entitled "Sab Tujhse Hai" (Everything Depends on You). The movie was produced by MIA and is used an insurance educational tool to illustrate the benefits of insurance to rural communities in India. The movie was then followed by a Q&A session with Ralf Radermacher, who works for MIA and developed the concept for the film.

Microinsurance Awareness Season, Luxembourg 2012

The questions asked by the participants illustrated a good understanding of the subject. The discussion included questions on the effect the movie has on communities, how well it is received, and how community-led insurance fits within the regulations set by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).

The evening was a great success and the objective of raising the awareness of microinsurance was achieved. The light-hearted entertainment of the movie combined with a discussion on microinsurance gave participants a brief overview of the challenges the sector faces.

See additional photos of the event

What is the Microinsurance Awareness Season?
The Microinsurance Awareness Season is a three month period from March until June 2012, during which we encourage you to organise an event with colleagues, partners, neighbours, relatives, classmates or whoever you like, to discuss microinsurance.

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Day 3 Microinsurance debate: Risks - Could weather-related microinsurance do more harm than good?

The Microinsurance debate is a 3 day online discussion organised by the Microinsurance Network on LinkedIn. See below for information on today's discussion points.

The third and last day of the discussion is dedicated to the risks involved: Could weather-related microinsurance do more harm than good, especially when subsidies come into play? And if so, how should we address it? What are the fundamental risks and principles to follow when designing weather-related microinsurance products?

In order to kick-start the discussion, here two statements:

  • If climate change leads to ever-increasing risks in a specific activity such as for example maize farming in country X, then insurance is the wrong tool to help people cope with this trend.
  • Subsidised insurance is dangerous, as it would trap people in unsustainable activities – until the subsidies run out.

Join the discussion!

Day 2 Microinsurance debate: Adaptation - Is microinsurance a valuable instrument for adaptation to climate change?

The Microinsurance debate is a 3 day online discussion organised by the Microinsurance Network on LinkedIn. See below for information on today's discussion points.

In theory, microinsurance could be designed with a range of objectives in mind, such as 1) an alternative to disaster relief programmes; 2) an instrument to facilitate economic development; 3) a tool to protect investments that are adapted to a changing climate. Which function is microinsurance best suited to and in which context will it be most relevant in relation to climate change?

In order to kick-start the discussion, here are a couple of statements:

  • In the face of a changing climate, adaptation is the only sensible option for the low-income population. Microinsurance may facilitate such developments by cushioning setbacks.
  • Weather-related microinsurance can facilitate economic development if it removes an important bottleneck such as access to credit.

Join the discussion!

Day 1 Microinsurance debate: Implications - How will climate change influence the microinsurance sector?

The Microinsurance debate is a 3 day online discussion organised by the Microinsurance Network on LinkedIn. See below for information on today's discussion points.

From a microinsurance perspective, does a changing climate present a business opportunity or pose additional hurdles when designing and implementing valuable and sustainable products for large portions of the target population?

In order to kick-start the discussion, here are a couple of statements:

  • Climate change could be bad for microinsurance: it’s already very challenging to reach out to large sections of the low-income populations with valuable products, especially crop and property insurance, in a financially sustainable manner. Climate change will add another important source of uncertainty and hence increase the cost to these products.
  • Climate change could turn out to be beneficial to the microinsurance industry: it raises awareness of existing and future risks, which could translate into higher demand.
  • The global debate on climate change could trigger substantial financial resources being channelled into the microinsurance sector.

Join the discussion! 

8th International Microinsurance Conference - Call for proposals

The 8th International Microinsurance Conference will take place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 6 to 8 November 2012. The conference will be hosted by the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network. The conference organisers are calling for proposals on the following themes:

1) Case studies of innovative and viable client-centred solutions

In theory, insurance should enable low-income households to manage risks more efficiently, but does that occur in practice? How can microinsurers design products that meet the needs of low-income households, provide them with good value for their money, while still being viable? Submissions should explore ways in which products can be adapted to ensure that they benefit the target market and/or highlight innovative approaches to managing large numbers of small-ticket policies. Proposals on all types of risks are welcome. Submissions must include solid data providing evidence of the execution of the programme.

2) Thematic issues

  • Experience with cooperative and mutual insurers
    Submissions should focus on the advantages and disadvantages of providing microinsurance through cooperative and mutual insurers and their contribution to reducing poverty and providing value to the client. Presentations should highlight the strengths and challenges of the cooperative business model as an alternative means of providing insurance and furthering socio-economic development.
  • Providing health insurance to the poor
    Submissions on this subject should include the following issues: What is the status of the provision of health microinsurance to the poor in terms of outreach and acceptance? How can solutions including PPPs be designed to meet the needs of the poor? How can social security schemes leverage the expertise and efficiency of the private sector? How is it possible to deal with the limited availability of even basic health service in rural areas? (more information)
  • Technology to achieve scale and efficiency
    In order for microinsurance to be viable, it needs to efficiently reach large numbers of low-income people. Many microinsurers have high hopes for the role that technology might play in achieving that objective. Presentations should focus on how microinsurance providers followed a practical process to identify the best-suited technology to reach out to customers and explore its pros and cons. Submissions must include information and data about the costs and benefits of making such an investment, an assessment of the break-even point required in terms of premium turnover and/or number of clients as well as a cost-benefit analysis assessing the effectiveness of consumer-education methods.
  • Failures in microinsurance
    Microinsurance is growing rapidly. The field finds itself in an intense learning phase in which lessons are eagerly awaited by all stakeholders. Given the relative youth of the field and the sheer complexity of the issues it is trying to address, it is not surprising that some microinsurance projects fail. Since mistakes could easily be avoided if they were evident, the organisers are seeking submissions on failures and the lessons to be learnt from them. Speakers must have been personally involved in some way in the project they wish to showcase. No documents will be made public without the speaker’s permission.
  • Consumer protection 
    The low-income market often lacks experience with insurance services and understanding of the concepts involved. How can microinsurance providers overcome this problem? How can clients be supported more effectively? Do they need more than financial services? Submissions should discuss processes, provide a cost-benefit analysis of different tools and assess the effectiveness and impact of consumer-education methods.
  • Agricultural microinsurance
    A large part of the world’s poor population survives directly from the production and sale of crops and livestock. Yet agriculture-related production is among the most risky activities, with farmers across economic lines struggling against the vagaries of weather, other natural calamities, and even international prices. These risks have a negative impact especially on low-income people. Many models for agriculture insurance are being tested for the low-income market. Submissions should focus on the advantages or disadvantages of different models – index-based, indemnity-based, hybrids, and others on the three different levels – and describe specific cases of their implementation. Presentations must include details relating to product outreach as well as the financial results, and lessons learnt from successes and failures which would be applicable elsewhere. Only submissions based on the details of actual results will be considered.

3) Scientific track – Economic analysis of microinsurance markets

Together with the Center for the Economic Analysis of Risk, the International Microinsurance Conference will have a scientific track to encourage rigorous economic analysis of microinsurance markets. Empirical, theoretical and policy-oriented papers are invited on topics such as:

  • Appropriate benchmarks to measure the success of microinsurance programmes
  • Optimal contract design to control adverse selection and moral hazard
  • Documenting impact and customer value
  • Effectiveness and sustainability
  • Transitioning from informal to formal risk-sharing mechanisms
  • Distribution mechanisms
  • Transitioning from informal to formal risk-sharing mechanisms
  • Crowding out or crowding in alternative risk-management mechanisms
  • Regulation, supervision and policy

All submissions intended for the scientific track need to clearly indicate how their proposed session is relevant for practitioners and/or policymakers.

4) Microinsurance training sessions

Various “how to” training tools, curriculums and sessions have been developed in the past. The conference organisers are inviting proposals for training sessions for a limited number of conference participants which can be integrated in the conference agenda. The length of the sessions may be 90 or 180 minutes, depending on the availability of separate rooms.

Submission information

To submit a proposal or training lesson, please complete the specific form, which can be downloaded at www.microinsuranceconference.org/2012 

Once completed, please email the proposal here. Kindly note that no other format can be accepted. All proposals must be submitted by 15 May 2012.

Click here for more information