The 11th microinsurance conference held in Casablanca, Morocco in November this year was the first microinsurance conference to be held in the MENA region, bringing together more than 350 participants from 55 countries that shared their experience and discussed ways to further enhance microinsurance.
Lively sessions focused on the role of supervisors, distributors, mobile microinsurance and the role of technology to overcome the challenges to increased outreach and the further, sustainable development of microinsurance. Panels for the sessions represented all players in the market including microinsurance companies, microinsurance consultants, microfinance organizations, regulators and development organizations.
The preliminary results of the “Landscape of Microinsurance in Africa 2015” study, published by the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network, revealed that coverage in the region has grown from 44.4 m to 61.9 m between 2011 and 2014. More importantly, having grown by 30% over a three-year period, the premium now totals US$ 650m making microinsurance more of a business case.
The role of technology, especially of mobile network operators (MNOs), has become a hot topic as it is a main driver of microinsurance outreach in African countries like Ghana and Zambia. The further success of MNOs in providing microinsurance on a wider scale depends on simple product design, enabling regulatory environments, and the variety and quality of client-oriented insurance products.
Financial education and client awareness of microinsurance are other major concerns for the sector. Microensure, for example, is offering microinsurance free of charge for a specified period of time. Using the freemium model, the insurer hopes to educate the market by putting the product in the hands of people so they can gain hands-on experience and learn to value the product themselves in real life. However, a challenge remains the generally low supply of microinsurance products, which limits people’s ability to assess their options and make their choice for the best suitable insurance cover. The industry calls for more market research on the demand side to address this issue, understand client preferences and develop better products.
The 11th Microinsurance Conference concluded with an optimistic outlook to the development of microinsurance across the African countries. The sector is set for further progress, which is planned to be reflected on the 12th microinsurance conference to be held in Sri Lanka in 2016.
By Noheir Khairy