The USAID-supported RBAP-MABS program conducted a Microinsurance roundtable meeting on September 17 to discuss collaborative strategies for the successful promotion of microinsurance in the rural banking sector.
The activity convened RBAP partner-insurers AA International, Country Bankers Life Insurance, Philippine Prudential Life, PhilAm Life, Pioneer Insurance, Malayan-Grepalife and MicroEnsure Philippines. Significantly in attendance were representatives of regulatory agencies Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Insurance Commission and the Philippine Life Insurance Association (PLIA). Technical assistance providers German Technical Assistance (GTZ) and MICRA Foundation Philippines also provided inputs to the discussions.
The activity was conducted in support of the implementation of the Rural Bankers Development Foundation, Inc. (RBRDFI) Microinsurance Initiative. This was recently awarded a grant by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Microinsurance Innovation Facility – Gates Foundation and designed to work in tandem with the RBAP-MABS Microinsurance Initiative.
The discussion took off with a presentation of the key components of the ILO-RBRDFI Microinsurance Initiative. One of the key strategies of this initiative is the development of a turn-key, batching system for licensing and accreditation of rural banks as microinsurance agents. The initiative also aims to install a SMS-based client feedback mechanism to aid in microinsurance product enhancement and develop an online resource hub for easy access to market information relevant to rural banks, commercial insurers as well as regulators.
Given the need for an effective training program for microinsurance agents, Philippine Life Insurance Association (PLIA) President Mabini Juan expressed willingness to collaborate with RBAP on the design of an effective training program on Basic Microinsurance and ethical sales and marketing by agents. RBRDFI is also proposing to become an accredited training provider on microinsurance for rural banks.
This was followed through by a discussion on opportunities for RBAP partner-insurers under the RBAP-RBRDFI Microinsurance Initiative, where welcome news came from the BSP representative, who mentioned that the definition of microfinance clients to whom banks can market insurance products to will expand to include both depositors and borrowers.
The participation of Mr. Rey Vergara, Head of the Insurance Commission Actuarial Division, was integral to clarifying issues concerning the design and approval of microinsurance products. Mr. Vergara noted the important differences between traditional insurance products and microinsurance products, which will make these services more suitable for the needs of low-income households.
Mr. Vergara also referred the group to Insurance Memo Circular 27-2005, which provides extensive information on the expeditious approval of life insurance products, which serves as guide for insurance providers for the approval of microinsurance products.
The event also sought to emphasize the importance of generating market information to facilitate microinsurance product enhancements and innovation. Feedback and performance tracking mechanisms were introduced.
Philippine Life Insurance Association President Mabini Juan signaled the successful end to the activity with a commitment to organize the next meeting to be held in October.