Category Archives: Corporate Social Responsibility

Microinsurance: Rapid Expansion

Some 500 million people worldwide are now covered by microinsurance, a low-cost form of insurance for individuals generally not covered by traditional insurance or government programs.

In fact there has been a more than 500 percent increase in the number of people covered by microinsurance in just the past five years, according to the Microinsurance Innovation Facility of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Munich Re Foundation.

The second volume of Microinsurance Compendium, Protecting the poor just published by the two organizations says the number of people covered by microinsurance rose from 78 million in 2007 to 135 million in 2009, reaching nearly 500 million today.

Their findings show that Asia – with its two microinsurance powerhouses China and India – is spearheading the trend, covering roughly 80 percent of the market. Latin America accounts for 15 percent of the market and Africa 5 percent.

Large and dense populations, interest from public and private insurers, property distribution channels and active government support, are some of the reasons why Asia is ahead of the game, the report says.

While microinsurance policies are typically thought of as products for emerging markets, a recent blog post over at Insurance & Technology suggests that microinsurance projects are applicable to mature economies too.

In the post, Marik Brockman, of PWC Insurance Advisory Services, says:

Even though developed economies do not have the same customer segments, per se, as emerging ones, they too have significant numbers of working poor. The constraints of remote geographies, the working poor’s difficulty in affording insurance, and differing technology infrastructures in emerging markets have led to innovations to and efficiencies in microinsurance schemes that are applicable to low growth and under-penetrated mature life, health and property & casualty markets.†

Brockman concludes that developed markets experiencing stagnating economies, increasing income disparity, and the risk of more consumers dropping below the poverty line are likely to see insurers adapt microinsurance schemes to increase insurance adoption and drive growth.

An interesting idea.

Check out further Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) information on microinsurance.

IICF Volunteer Week 2011

Disaster preparedness, education, the environment, housing, senior issues, women’s issues, and youth and children are some of the local community projects that teams of insurance industry volunteers will be donating their time to next week.

Volunteer Week, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) eight-day event, kicks off this Saturday on both the East and West coasts.

During the week, teams of insurance volunteers will donate three or more hours of service at neighborhood and community nonprofit organizations. The IICF provides online signup for volunteer teams and coordinates contact with the charities for which volunteers work.

Betsy Myatt, executive director of IICF’s New York/Northeast division, says:

Volunteer Week feeds insurance industry employees’ strong desire to give back to their local communities, and supports companies that want to be active players in their communities.

In the first year in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area, we expected about 1,000 volunteers – and saw double that.†

Last year, the tri-state area saw more than 2,000 participants give more than 13,000 hours in nearly 200 different projects.

Since it started in 1997, Volunteer Week has contributed more than 140,000 hours of community service.

It’s not too late to be part of Volunteer Week 2011. To register go to: http://Volunteer.IICF.org

Accessing Coverage Through Microinsurance

A segment on rebuilding Haiti on NPR’s Marketplace show Friday and featuring I.I.I. president Bob Hartwig, discussed the reasons why the private insurance market in Haiti is very small. It also raised the important question of what insurers are doing to provide private-sector insurance coverage to poorer nations. The answer is microinsurance. A growing number of insurers are tapping into markets in developing countries through microinsurance projects which provide low cost insurance to individuals generally not covered by traditional insurance or government programs. Microinsurance products tend to be much less costly than traditional products and thus extend protection to a much wider market. Speaking on the NPR show, Michael McCord, president of the Microinsurance Centre, noted that the potential market for microinsurance comprises individuals living on just $1 to $2 a day. While coverage is often geared to protection from natural disasters, it can also provide coverage for property and life/health risks. Insurers operating in the microinsurance arena include Swiss Re, Munich Re and Zurich Financial Services. In November 2010, the sixth International Microinsurance Conference will take place in Manila, Philippines. The event is hosted by the Microinsurance Network and the Munich Re Foundation. Just last October microinsurance was the main theme for the annual conference of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on microinsurance.

Donate to Haiti Relief

Insurance industry professionals seeking to make a donation to the Haiti relief effort are being encouraged to do so via two organizations – the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and World Cares Center – both of which are supported by the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF). The IRC, with 75 years of expertise in emergency response, has sent a team of experts to Haiti to provide relief to the devastated country. World Cares Center, an organization that supports local community members as resilient first responders, is partnering with other groups to provide assistance to Haiti community groups and also support to those in the U.S. with family and friends in Haiti. “IICF is encouraging our member companies to give as generously as they can to the IRC, World Cares Center, or to other reputable relief organizations,† said Elizabeth Myatt, New York Executive Director of the IICF. IICF is also interested in learning about all industry support for Haiti relief. Please keep the IICF informed of any Haiti relief contribution made through your organization by email to contact@iicf.com

Brokaw to Speak at Industry Charitable Foundation Gala

NBC’s Tom Brokaw will be the special guest speaker at the annual dinner of the New York division of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) being held on December 9 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Pierre Ozendo, chairman and CEO of Swiss Re America Corp and the 2008 honoree will serve as this year’s dinner chair. IICF will honor Brokaw’s commitment to philanthropy with a grant to the Youth Program of the International Rescue Committee, where he serves on the board of overseers. Proceeds from the event will provide significant grants to other children’s charities in the New York tri-state area such as Boys Hope Girls Hope and the Starlight Children’s Foundation. For Gala information, including ticket sales, please contact the IICF Benefit Office at 212-763-8593 or iicf@cmevents.net. According to a Conference Board survey, the insurance industry ranks among the top 15 contributors when it comes to charitable donations. The insurance industry’s contributions to U.S. beneficiaries totaled $211.1 million in 2007, up from $147 million in 2006. Check out I.I.I. information on corporate social responsibility.

Microinsurance Heads Up IAIS Agenda

“Insurance as a Means of Socio Economic Development† is the main theme for the 16th annual conference of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) which  opens this Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A growing number of insurers are tapping into markets in developing countries through microinsurance projects which provide low cost insurance to individuals generally not covered by traditional insurance or government programs. The opening session at the IAIS will address challenges in identifying appropriate regulation and supervisory tools to facilitate access to insurance without distorting the market. Speakers will also discuss regulation and supervision of alternative providers of insurance and proportionate regulation of microinsurance providers. Check out I.I.I. facts and stats on microinsurance.

Microinsurance: Growing Market

A growing number of insurers are providing low cost insurance to individuals in developing countries. For example just last week Munich Re announced a pilot project with Indonesian insurer Asuransi Wahana Tata and GTZ, the German government’s international development agency, to offer flood insurance coverage to low-income households in Jakarta. Instead of a lengthy policy document, the insured receives a simple protection card that guarantees a one-time payment in the event of a flood. Munich Re notes that with just 3 percent of low-income individuals currently having access to insurance products in the world’s 100 poorest countries, the microinsurance segment is a growing market. Microinsurance products tend to be much less costly than traditional products and thus extend protection to a much wider market. Check out I.I.I. facts & stats on microinsurance.  

New York Charitable Dinner

The second annual dinner of the New York division of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) will take place at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City next Wednesday December 10. The event will feature special guest Colin Powell, the retired General and U.S. Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. It will honor Pierre Ozendo, chairman and CEO of Swiss Re America for the company’s ongoing commitment to developing sustainability related solutions. Brian Duperreault, president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Cos will serve as the dinner chairman. Since its launch in 2007, the New York division of the IICF has developed and offered grants to tri-state area charities. The insurance industry ranks among the top 15 contributors when it comes to charitable donations. According to a Conference Board survey, charitable contributions to U.S. and international causes by the 189 U.S. companies participating in the survey amounted to $10.21 billion in 2006, up from $9.78 billion in 2005. The insurance industry’s contributions to U.S. beneficiaries totaled $147 million in 2006. Insurers were also among the top 20 international donors, with $13 million in international contributions in 2006. Check out further I.I.I. info on corporate social reponsibility.  

Charity Walk

Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) colleagues, family and friends joined together to raise funds and to participate in last Sunday’s Susan G Komen New York City Race for the Cure 5K walk/run. First held in 1991, the race is now one of the largest in New York City and this year more than 25,000  took to  the route  in Central Park. The Race for the Cure series raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates breast cancer survivorship, and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease. Despite 90 degree temperatures, I’m pleased to report that all I.I.I. team members made it to the finish line. Donations are still coming in, but the team expects to raise close to $4,000 in total. Check out our team picture below.

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California Charitable Dinner

We’ve blogged before about the great works of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation and a new date to mark in the calendar is Thursday March 6, 2008, when the Foundation will hold its fourth annual Southern California Club 100 Dinner at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. The event, which brings together top insurance executives throughout California, provides the ideal opportunity to meet and network and enjoy an evening of fine food, wine and fine art while enjoying the unique architectural statement of the Getty Center grounds. Foundation Board member Gary C. Petrosino, managing director, Chubb Group, will serve as the Dinner Chairman. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Los Angeles Metro YMCA. Registration can be completed online at http://www.iicf.org/club100/. Check out further I.I.I. facts and stats on the insurance industry’s charitable contributions.