The recent Global Insurance Forum in Berlin was an opportunity for the MiN to remind the industry of its ten-year track record in promoting inclusive insurance for development and resilience - long before the issue became trendy. Network members Craig Churchill of the ILO’s Impact Insurance Facility and AXA’s Garance Wattez-Richard co-hosted a lunch session for the Insurance Development Forum’s microinsurance working group to catch up on recent developments.
Blue Marble Microinsurance and the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) are co-chairs of the working group - evidence of the increasing collaboration and cooperation between different players in the sector. The group discussed initiatives to stimulate the market development of microinsurance in developing countries, and how to design and deliver mass-outreach inclusive insurance in low-income markets.
“On the one hand it’s great to see initiatives such as the Insurance Development Forum getting involved in the low-income space and seeing it as a priority area,” says Churchill. “But I have mixed feelings. From a practical point of view, it feels like we’re going over old business and there’s a fair amount of wheel reinventing. The MiN has been bringing the insurance industry and development partners together for a decade.”
“It would make a lot of sense for better coordination and integration so these other initiatives don’t have to start from scratch or work in parallel. That’s why the MiN takes a universal view - it’s all about cooperation, there’s no room for territoriality. I don’t think there’s enough appreciation of the MiN and what it can contribute.”
“The digital agenda is super high on the priority list, which makes sense, but I worry about putting all our eggs in the digital basket,” says Churchill, reflecting on the main take-outs from the day of keynote speeches, panel discussions and working groups. “Of course it’s important to explore a variety of distribution channels, but digital channels don’t necessarily provide the best value and tend to be unwieldy. If you want to get insurance to a lot of people, you’ve got to explore those channels which are closer to low-income communities, such as retailers, microfinance institutions and cooperatives. There’s a risk that everyone is so excited about linking insurance to mobile phones, that we might be missing other opportunities.”