The National Microinsurance Forum 2019 on “Partnerships and Innovations”
MANILA — On 22 January 2019 (TUESDAY), the Microinsurance MBA Association of the Philippines (MiMAP), also known as RIMANSI, organized the National Microinsurance Forum in celebration of National Microinsurance Month at the Century Park Hotel, Manila. The National Microinsurance Forum—supported by the Citi Foundation and Canadian Government—brings together key microinsurance stakeholders from all over the Philippines to discuss the updates, issues and developments in the microinsurance industry.
266 participants and guests attended the 2019 National Microinsurance Forum at the Century Park Hotel in Manila
The forum was guided by the theme “Partnerships and Innovations” which discussed about the gains, challenges and prospects of improving microinsurance accessibility and coverage through collaborative and better ways of doing things. The forum also acted as an opportunity for participants to build their network and learn from their peers. The event was attended by 266 participants that represented Mi-MBAs, MFIs, promoters and supporters of microinsurance, the Insurance Commission and other government offices.
Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, CARD founder and chairman emeritus of MiMAP, opened the event with an overview of microinsurance in the Philippines and highlighted partners who have aided the Philippines in becoming trailblazers for microinsurance in Asia by better serving those who are most vulnerable and at risk. This was followed by Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed who spoke on digital transformation in the world of insurance, and the potential for such development in the Philippines. As Citi reaffirmed its commitment to assist MiMAP and partners, Ahmed suggested the way forward and said, “Not only is digital transformation beneficial in improving business, but it is also a significant step toward achieving greater financial inclusion.”
National Microinsurance Forum 2019 Guests and Speakers (left to right): CDF Executive Director André Benoit, MiMAP President Pelagia Mendones, ADB Financial Sector Specialist Arup Chatterjee, CARD Founder and MiMAP Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa, CDF Chairperson Michele Aasgard, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines John Holmes, Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed
Several keynote speakers delivered messages in line with the theme of the forum.
His Excellency John Holmes, the ambassador of Canada to the Philippines, highlighted 70 years of Philippine-Canada bilateral relations and the relationship’s key part in the recovery and rehabilitation of disaster-stricken areas, more so after typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). He pointed out Sagip Negosyo, as the focused and innovative approach helping mobilize women microentrepreneurs rebuild communities and realize potential.
He further emphasized, “We focus on empowering women to fully participate in the economic lives of their communities and be drivers for sustainable and inclusive growth…Without the full participation of women countries will never realize their full potential fortunately there is widespread recognition of that fact in the Philippines.”
The chairperson of the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF), Michele Aasgard expounded on the value of development cooperation in microinsurance which has “contributed to an increased number of insured policyholder members from a 110,000 to over 5 million.”
On the Philippine’s economic prospects toward financial inclusion, Chief Economist and Undersecretary Gil Beltran mentioned a favorable outlook for the Philippine economy despite alarming trends in the global political economy. He cited that the IMF and World Bank predict a 6.5% to 6.6% GDP growth for the Philippines in 2019, placing it as the fastest growing country in the ASEAN bloc. In light of the current administration’s focus on economic growth and infrastructure development, he made the assertion to ensure that—as we catch up with other countries— “no one is left behind.” Furthermore, he asserted, “there can be no development without growth, and there is no need for development if there is no inclusion.” It is through the involvement of microfinance and regulators in microinsurance and the seeds planted, he said, that risk protection and inclusivity can be achieved.
The last keynote speaker, Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa gave a perspective on the numbers and trajectory of the insurance industry. As of the third quarter of 2018, Commissioner Funa said that the overall insurance industry experienced a growth of 18% relative to the record of the same period in 2017. In addition, 2018 contributions from MBAs also increased to almost PhP8 billion up by 21% from PhP6.5 billion during the same period of last year. He stated that this reflects the “efforts of industries and regulators that are coming to fruition.” The Insurance Commission, however, continues the quest of increasing microinsurance awareness through programs and campaigns as numbers show that only a few are knowledgeable of microinsurance and its economic benefits.
Also speaking were several resource persons—Executive Director André Benoit, Financial Sector Specialist Arup Chatterjee and Chief Investment Officer Smith Chua from the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and BPI Asset Management and Trust Corporation (BPI AMTC), respectively. Benoit further represented Canada, expounding on its partnership with the Philippines; Chatterjee discussed opportunities and threats to the microinsurance industry; and Chua provided an outlook of Philippine investment from that of a difficult 2018 and a prospective 2019 with forthcoming growth for microinsurance.
The forum introduced 3 panels to discuss different subject matters in line with the forum theme.
The first panel—moderated by MiMAP Executive Director Mr. Jun Jay Perez—was started by Ms. Juliana Chua of NTUC Income, and was joined by Mr. Roy Miclat of CISP, Mr. Noel Raboy of CLIMBS, Ms. Silvida Antiquera of KMBA, and Ms. Melinda Grace Labao of CPMI. This panel introduced the digital transformations by innovation leader NTUC Income and compared it to the conditions and innovations of Mutual and Coop Insurance Providers in the Philippines. While going digital boosts efficiency, the Philippine insurance leaders identified the difference between technical development, resources and literacy among the two nations. Nonetheless, technological innovations do exist in the Philippines and have been utilized despite limited capacities. Other modes of innovations such as partnerships have also been used to positive effect.
The second panel—moderated by MiMAP Consultant Mr. Julio Banzon—brought together Mi-MBA and MFI leaders to discuss the matter, namely: Mr. Rolando Victoria of the ASKI Group of Companies, Ms. May Dawat of CARD MBA, Ms. Maria Anna Ignacio of Kasagana-Ka Coop and Fr. Rex Paul Arjona of SEDP MBA. This panel highlighted the importance of cooperation between the closely-knit institutions of Mi-MBAs and MFIs; their shared vision is a launching point toward becoming an enabling force for the community. As such, these developments must be institutionalized for future use of like-minded organizations.
Lastly, the third panel—moderated by MiMAP Advisor Mr. Camilo Casals—introduced Insurance, Savings and Loan Advocates (ISLA) Facilitators Ms. Miriam Galazan, Ms. Teresita Cruz, Ms. Mymie Cabaut, as well as ISLA advisor Mr. Noel Gabrito. This panel showcased a new business model where sari-sari stores act as distributors of financial products and services. Women micro-entrepreneurs facilitate savings and loans to areas and people invisible to commercial agencies. ISLA facilitators shared that doubts over this unique practice have dismissed because of visible results, not only in customer capital, but community behaviors and practices.
Ms. Pelagia Mendones, the president of MiMAP, concluded the program by presenting an overview of each speech and panel discussion and extending her gratitude to guests consequently reminding attendees of the industry’s potential for growth through partnerships and innovations, to say the least.