Financial inclusion through inclusive insurance
Title: Regulatory Framework Promotion of Pro-poor Insurance Markets in Asia II (RFPI Asia II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Indonesia, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam
Overall term: 2016 to 2018
People on low incomes are particularly vulnerable to financial risks when faced by events such as illness and incapacity to work, or the loss of property. Increasingly significant are the impacts of climate change, which bring a heightened risk from extreme weather events and natural disasters. Insurance cover can offer effective protection, and public and private sector actors alike now realise that even people with low incomes are insurable. Microinsurance products offer a sustainable solution. While insurance markets in Asia have grown rapidly in recent years, many public authorities in the region still lack the expertise or strategies they need to establish a conducive environment for pro-poor insurance markets. The development and implementation of appropriate regulatory frameworks and supervision practices are essential to ensure that these markets develop sustainably, while protecting consumers from bad business practices.
Regulatory frameworks and effective supervisory practices are implemented to promote inclusive insurance markets in the region.
The RFPI Asia II programme builds on the achievements of an earlier programme, which aimed to improve the regulatory frameworks underpinning insurance protections for people on low incomes in Asia. While continuing those activities, the main focus is now on the use of microinsurance to address the heightened risks caused by climate change.
The programme supports the development and growth of the Mutual Exchange Forum on Inclusive Insurance (MEFIN), a peer network of insurance regulatory authorities. The network encourages more productive exchanges of knowledge and experience between its members. Originally established with the assistance of GIZ and the Asian Development Bank in 2013, MEFIN brings together regulators from Asian countries who have pledged to support inclusive insurance as a strategy for poverty reduction in the region.
At the same time, to promote cooperation between regulators and industry associations and to shape the national agendas on inclusive insurance, RFPI Asia II supports regular public-private dialogue processes. These dialogues enable participants from MEFIN countries to share their experiences with respect to innovative business models and supportive regulations.
The programme also facilitates the development of business models with inclusive microinsurance products and efficient distribution channels guided by international regulation and supervision standards.
As members of the MEFIN Regional Steering Committee (RSC), the insurance regulators of Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam cooperate closely with the programme, which acts as the secretariat of the network. The RSC provides advice to different technical working groups (TWGs), which address topics such as regulation and supervision, business models, knowledge management and capacity building. The TWGs are composed of regulators and representatives of insurance industry associations. Both the RSC and the TWGs receive support from the secretariat.
After three years of implementation, the RFPI Asia II was able to deliver the following:
- Through the RSC, MEFIN network members met at least twice per year to prepare plans at the TWG and country levels and review their implementation with respect to regional goals and annual priorities. In a move towards sustaining the network, the member-countries agreed in July 2016 to register MEFIN with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines. In July 2017, MEFIN Inc. was registered with the SEC. Due to legal considerations, the membership with MEFIN Inc. is now limited to the private sector. Following the Philippine registration, a similar move is envisioned in the other member-countries. At the regional level, a discussion with the Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii) was initiated by the programme on sustaining MEFIN as a network of regulators.
- Seven instruments were provided by the programme to the regulators in response to their needs in conducting self-assessments, assessing the impacts of existing regulations, assessing disaster risk management plans and proposing insurance options, reporting microinsurance and conducting financial literacy. Six of the instruments were developed by the project while one was by IAIS. The use of the instruments yielded 12 publications which documented the experiences of regulators.
- A total of six Public-Private Dialogues (PPDs) were conducted which served as venues for the sharing of experiences, practices and knowledge in regulation, business models, technologies in insurance. Among the participants were regulators, industry players and insurance associations. Five PPDs were conducted by the programme and MEFIN, while one was conducted with the Asian Insurance Review (AIR). Six regulators introduced the best practices learned from the PPDs in their respective jurisdictions.
- Innovative practices regarding inclusive insurance of insurers and intermediaries were documented in 24 Factsheets and shared during PPDs and conferences conducted with partners such as the A2ii and the Micro Insurance Network (MiN). Two of the Factsheets were intended primarily for women particularly in Viet Nam and Pakistan. 23 of the Factsheets are accessible at the MEFIN website which was established in July 2016 by the programme as a platform for knowledge exchange.