Extending mutual microinsurance to 5 million uninsured households in five countries over five years.

Closing the protection gap in India through mutual microinsurance and improved regulation

On Tuesday 14 November 2017 a workshop was hosted jointly by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) with the Insurance Institute of India (III) in Mumbai (India) with the theme Closing the Protection Gap in India – a People-Based Solution.

The workshop follows the release in July 2017 by ICMIF of a country diagnostic report on the mutual and cooperative microinsurance landscape in India as part of ICMIF’s 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy. The 5-5-5 Strategy aims to make a positive impact, through microinsurance, on the lives of millions of low-income households in a number of emerging markets including India. ICMIF plans to reach out to 5 million previously uninsured, low-income households in five countries (Colombia, India, Kenya, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka), over a five year period, totalling 25 million people. The workshop was part of efforts by ICMIF and the III to promote an enabling environment for mutual insurers in India as part of the 5-5-5 project.

The workshop was attended by over 50 people, including senior representatives from the Indian insurance industry; delegates from ICMIF member organisations in India; Mr Thierry Weishaupt, Development and Operations Manager China, Groupe VYV (France) who has been supporting ICMIF in its advocacy work; and representatives from ICMIF member CARD MBA (the Philippines).

The agenda for the workshop was as follows:

  • A welcome address from Mr Venugopal, Secretary General, III
  • A special address  by the Chairman-cum-Managing Director, of the New India Assurance Co. Ltd and the President of III, Mr G Srinivasan
  • A presentation by Mr Thierry Weishaupt on the topics of How mutuals work in developed countries such as France,How the Chinese have adopted mutual insurance and The potential for mutual insurance in India.
  • A keynote address by Mr Nilesh Sathe, Member - Life, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)
  • A presentation by Dr George Thomas and Professor Archana Vaze, both of the III, on the India diagnostic report
  • A panel discussion on how mutual microinsurance works featuring Mr Arun Agarwal, Kotak Mahindra General Insurance; Ms May Dawat and Ms Vida Chiong, CARD MBA; and Mr Kalyansundaram, INAFI and DHAN International
  • A second panel discussion to consider how to create an enabling environment for mutuals, with Dr George Thomas, the III; Mr Warendra Sinha, MD and CEO, IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Co; Mr Girish Kulkarni, MD and CEO, Star Union Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co Ltd; Mrs T L Alamelu, Chairman-cum-MD, Agriculture Insurance Co of India Ltd; and Sabbir Patel, CEO, ICMIF Foundation
  • A vote of thanks given by Mr Arindam Mukherjee, Director, College of Insurance, III

Speaking at the event, Mr G Srinivasan, President of the III, highlighted the needs for mutuals to be regulated, but that they needed to be viewed from a different perspective, taking into account the proportion of the risk that they carry and the social segments that they support. He continued to say that given the importance of the work which mutuals and other MCCOs carry out with people living at the bottom of the social pyramid, mutuals actually need enabling regulations so that they are able to carry out their activities under proper corporate governance guidelines.

Mr Nilesh Sathe of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), who gave the keynote speech at the workshop, highlighted the importance of mutual insurers in creating awareness and understanding of the role of insurance and the need for creating a conducive environment for mutual insurers through enabling regulatory measures.

Speaking after the workshop Mr Sabbir Patel said: “We believe that the workshop was an important event and will contribute to a better understanding of the way forward in developing inclusive mutual insurance in India. We are also delighted to receive such positive recognition from the regulator about the need for enabling regulations for mutual insurance in India.”