Better access to insurance in Latin America and the Caribbean
Title: Adapting the regulatory and supervisory framework to improve access to insurance in Latin America and the Caribbean
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Colombia, Jamaica, Peru
Lead executing agency: Financial Services Commission, Jamaica; Superintendencia de Banca, Seguros y AFP (SBS), Peru; Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia
Overall term: 2012 to 2015
In Latin America and the Caribbean, growth in the insurance markets is not keeping pace with economic development. Risks such as illness, death of a family member, accidents, failed harvests and destruction of property as a result of natural disasters are major factors in causing inequality and poverty. Less prosperous households and small and micro enterprises are not or not adequately insured.
Private insurance provides an effective means to protect property and life, while government bodies also use insurance to protect the population against the impacts of risks and disasters and to offer social security.
Due to the region's ineffective political, regulatory and supervisory framework, however, insurance companies have little incentive to enter the market. Moreover, the lack of a formal supervisory framework may jeopardise consumer protection and the stability of the financial systems.
Access to insurance is still a relatively new topic in Latin America and the Caribbean, and supervisory authorities in the insurance sector often lack the skills and capacity to develop and effectively implement suitable strategies.
Low-income population groups and small and micro enterprises have access to insurance that is tailored to their needs and can thus protect themselves more effectively against risks.
With funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, the project supports the supervisory authorities in Jamaica, Colombia and Peru in their efforts to adapt regulations and supervision in the insurance sector with a view to improving access to high-quality insurance products for low-income population groups.
Existing insurance markets and the relevant regulatory framework in the project countries are analysed using a 'country diagnosis' to identify potential obstacles or barriers preventing access to insurance.
On the basis of these country-specific results, the supervisory authorities draw up policy recommendations with support from the project and develop a roadmap for regulatory reforms. The project offers courses and training for staff in the supervisory authorities to enable them to implement the reforms. In order to build the overall capacity of the supervisory authorities in the region's insurance sector, it also holds training and dialogue events at which the insurance supervisory bodies from the different countries can share their experience and success stories.
There is a greater awareness of the topic in the region. Country diagnoses have been drawn up for Jamaica, Colombia and Peru, and the supervisory authorities in these countries are using the diagnoses to develop roadmaps for regulatory reform and the implementation of changes.
A total of ten training and dialogue events have been held so far for insurance supervisory bodies and interested members of the public. These were attended by a total of 1,204 people. The events have enabled representatives of the authorities to share their experience and results within the region and to set up networks.