The Landscape Study: unique insights into the inclusive insurance market

First published in 2005 and updated every year since 2013, the Landscape of Microinsurance Study, together with the World Map of Microinsurance (WMM), provides a unique benchmark for tracking the development and future potential growth of the microinsurance sector. In a relatively short time, the studies and the WMM have established themselves as the go-to publications for accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive global data on microinsurance.

Understanding how insurers, regulators, development agencies and donors operate and do business is crucial to the sustainability and profitability of the inclusive insurance sector. The studies analyse data provided by insurance companies, country insurance associations and regulators in order to provide key insights into markets, products, profitability, premiums and policyholders. The Landscape Studies analyse, among other things, premiums and premium allocation, claims ratios, administrative expenses, developments in technology, commissions across distribution channels, profitability and market perceptions.

Insurance is a data-driven industry. The Landscape Studies and WMM are a key tool for enhancing market intelligence and driving the development of inclusive insurance. They help the sector to develop effectively, produce more valuable and client-focused products and improve profitability for insurers. Data is critical to increased microinsurance penetration as it provides insight into markets, aids market development, demonstrates best practices and ultimately leads to better products and services. Detailed, disaggregated country level data is essential for effective pricing, for understanding low-income markets and for developing SMART goals and benchmarks. At company level, improving insurers’ knowledge of low-income markets benefits both insurers and clients - clients gain access to better products and insurers can expand their client base.

Since 2013, the Landscape Study has alternated between the African, Asian, and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) regions. For 2018, the focus is on Africa, and the study will pilot a revised methodology to improve the quality, representativeness and relevance of the data. Collecting, compiling and analysing the data requires extensive - and therefore expensive - primary research and validation. Our revised methodology aims to strike a balance between sourcing and analysing the data that is most useful to industry stakeholders and the effort and cost of doing so. If, as we anticipate, the pilot proves successful, we aim to produce an annual global study from next year instead of rotating through the regions. This will eliminate the problem of large gaps in data in a fast-growing, young industry. At the same time we will expand the project steering committee to include members who can provide data as well as those who use it.

Ultimately, the enhanced Landscape Studies and WMM will help advance inclusive insurance as a tool to build the resilience and risk management of low-income populations in developing countries against the crises that push them into and trap them in poverty.