New data from the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) shows that an estimated 97% of primary policyholders covered to date as a result of ICMIF's 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy are women. The total number of lives covered is over 3.2 million in developing countries, these are policyholders who previously had no insurance cover but who now have access to mutual microinsurance to protect them and their families.The 5-5-5 Strategy aims to expand the reach of mutual microinsurance in five countries (India, the Philippines, Kenya, Colombia and Sri Lanka) over the five years by reaching 5 million previously uninsured, low-income households, which equates to a total of 25 million lives. The Strategy is currently operationalised in two of the five countries (India and the Philippines). The Strategy will specifically assist with at least five of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5 for ‘gender equality’.
The 5-5-5 project in the Philippines, in partnership with RIMANSI, is designed to strengthen the capacity and outreach of mutual benefit associations (MBAs) which are serving the poor. Most of these MBAs are led by women and their policyholders are, in the majority, women. CARD MBA, the most successful of these has 3 million members of which 98% are women. These women provide both the workforce and governance of the organisation.
In India, ICMIF is partnering with its member organisations Uplift Mutuals and the Development of Humane Action (DHAN) Foundation on the 5-5-5 India country intervention. Data from ICMIF’s country diagnostic report The missing chapter of microinsurance in India – a diagnostic of mutuals confirms over 90% of policyholders in India are women. This is mainly due to the fact that most of the mutual and cooperative insurers in India have emerged from self-help groups or microcredit operations that have been traditionally developed with/by women.
Sabbir Patel, CEO, ICMIF Foundation, explains: "Mutual and cooperative microinsurance empowers women worldwide, by bringing women together within their communities, by creating leadership roles, and by providing women with protection and security from unexpected events."
Sabbir Patel continues: “In low-income communities the concept of insurance resonates much better with women due to their understanding of risk and their concern for children’s long term livelihoods. As a policyholder of a mutual insurance provider, women also participate in the running of the scheme and they are empowered to make decisions that will affect their livelihoods. As members they are provided training and opportunities to work in and lead these organisations. The community approach gives them a feeling of belonging, dignity and social support as well as equal rights through democratic governance.”