Inclusive Insurance Innovation Lab

How can we increase uptake of good quality insurance by vulnerable people and businesses?

Insurance protects against unforeseen losses and financial vulnerability and plays a vital role in promoting economic growth. Yet in most developing and emerging economies, insurance penetration rates are low and vast segments of the low-income population as well as micro and small businesses remain excluded from insurance.

The Inclusive Insurance Innovation Lab is a sequence of national workshops and international platforms for insurance supervisors and other key stakeholders of the inclusive insurance sector. It provides a unique opportunity to build leadership capabilities while working together to develop innovative solutions that will increase uptake of insurance.

Dates and Locations


“We all hold a piece of the puzzle to find the solution.”

31

Participants

The participants represent all important insurance stakeholders such as companies, intermediaries, regulatory authorities and demand side representatives.

4

Countries

Albania, Ghana, Kenya, Mongolia

Learn more about the Lab

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The Process

To address the challenges in improving access to insurance, the Access to Insurance Initiative and the Global Leadership Academy launched a unique 12-month Leadership and Innovation Lab. The Lab brought together a broad range of inclusive insurance stakeholders in 4 country teams to build innovative solutions, guided by the question: How can we increase uptake of good quality insurance by vulnerable people and businesses?

The Inclusive Insurance Innovation Lab is based on the understanding that the question above cannot be tackled by one stakeholder alone. Rather, it needs the collective experience from diverse perspectives to comprehensively understand the bottlenecks within the sector.

Building on this understanding, the process enables participants to develop and test innovative solutions to promote uptake of insurance by those in need. 

The Lab aims at:

Oftentimes stakeholders in the insurance market have preconceived conceptions about one another and do not adequately understand the challenges and constraints that the other actors face. The Lab will stimulate dialogue and an exchange of experiences, both within and across country teams. This will allow participants to learn from the experience of other countries (i.e. peer learning) and to thoroughly understand the perspectives of all players in the inclusive insurance market – a prerequisite to creating sustainable innovation. The process aims to develop lasting networks within (and across) the participating countries which can be drawn on even after the Lab process has come to an end.

In a first step, country teams will collectively analyse their country context in order to identify the specific areas in which innovation is needed. In a second step, the process will enable teams to develop innovative solutions that can increase the uptake of insurance by vulnerable people and businesses. Initial implementation of the innovations will be accompanied by experienced change facilitators – but ownership ultimately rests with the country groups.

The knowledge gained and skill sets developed throughout the Lab will help participants address complex realities in their future work. The entire process is designed to promote leadership and innovation skills and the ability of participants to initiate multi-stakeholder collaboration.


“This is the first time we are meeting like this. We all know each other, but have never met all together!”

Impact

The Global Leadership Academy's objective is to enable change on a personal, organisational, and systemic level. The Migration Laboratory takes an emergent approach to change – it doesn't formulate the objectives for change initiatives, instead, the Lab provides an enabling space where new ideas can be sparked, networks created and paths to change tried and tested.

The iii-lab met the objectives that it had set out to achieve, which were to (1) promote dialogue and mutual learning amongst key stakeholders of the inclusive insurance sector, (2) inspire participants to take action, and (3) equip participants to assume leadership within their sector and/or organisation.

outcomes per category

While the innovative solutions and implementation of prototypes are the primary outcomes of the iii-lab, the iii-lab also created more far-reaching and long-term outcomes. By rallying team members around a common cause, it created networks, changed perceptions and led to spin-off innovations by one or several team members that were initially not planned. The outcomes of the lab can be grouped into nine categories:

  1. Strengthening the supervisors’ central role in promoting market development
  2. Promoting change within the insurance sector
  3. Developing innovative solutions and first prototypes 
  4. Creating strong intra-country networks
  5. Fostering peer exchange and support
  6. Strengthening individual knowledge and leadership skills
  7. Promoting change within organisationsLinking to other in-country policy, regulatory and development initiatives
  8. Strong country ownership of the process

outcomes per country

Barriers chosen to focus on:

  • Only limited range of products available.
  • No targeting of products at different consumer groups, such as farmers.

 

Innovations:

Development of insurance products for the agricultural sector:

  • Protection of greenhouses
  • Index product for seedlings

 

Other lab outcomes:

  • Insurance companies in Albania have become (more) aware about the concept of inclusive insurance.
  • Inclusive insurance and agricultural insurance are now included in the strategy of the Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority (AFSA).
  • During the 2nd national workshop, the team realised that the Ministry of Agriculture has a budget to subsidise agricultural insurance and AFSA recognized that more coordination is needed amongst government institutions. The Ministry of Agriculture is now planning subsidies for agricultural insurance.
  • Previously, the insurance industry did not fully understand the needs of different consumer groups and shied the effort of finding out what the needs are. Now, senior management of insurance companies are engaging in dialogue with Albanian producers (farmers and others) to identify their needs.

 

Institutionalisation:

The lab team involved the Insurance Association of Albania and the Association’s Product Development Committee would take an active role.

Barriers chosen to focus on:

  • Lack of insurance awareness and/or negative perceptions of insurance.
  • Limited understanding of the needs of different conumser groups, such as micro- and small business owners.

 

Innovations:

  • Micro- and small business (MSB) clinics to help the industry:
  • identify risks that small business owners are exposed to,
  • develop needs-based insurance solutions, and
  • raise awareness amongst small business owners of insurance as a risk management tool.
  • E-platform for insurance customers to lodge complaints and rate insurance companies, with the ultimate goal to boost customer confidence.
  • Modelling of what constitutes a ‘seamless customer journey’ in microinsurance.

 

Other lab outcomes:

  • Two lab ideas (MSB clinics and modelling the customer journey) are included in the new strategic plan of the National Insurance Commission (NIC) to increase insurance penetration.
  • Revision of the insurance law is being influenced by the lab: standards identified for what constitutes a ‘seamless customer journey’ in inclusive insurance will be included in the insurance code issued by NIC so that they can become enforceable.
  • Insurance related revisions to the National Financial Inclusion Strategy have been proposed.

 

Institutionalisation:

  • The lab team developed an overarching objective, namely “expanding insurance to vulnerable and those most in need”, in line with the overarching question of the lab.
  • Four distinct tasks with clear goals were identified and four working groups were created to handle the respective tasks:
  • MSB clinics (with a focus on informal trade associations)
  • IT (how to deploy technology to remove as many problems as possible along the customer journey). A concrete example is the e-platform website where people can post complaints against insurance companies and companies can address the complaints)
  • Marketing and education
  • Customer journey standards
  • The working groups are made up of lab team members as well as other stakeholders, also from outside the insurance industry. All groups have met repeatedly, have received terms of reference and have developed modes of operation.

Barriers chosen to focus on:

  • Insurance companies have not engaged sufficiently with non-insurance actors that are trusted by potential customers and have access to them.
  • New and efficient distribution channels are not being explored sufficiently.
  • Innovation needs to be institutionalized in the insurance sector.

 

Innovations:

  • Development of a regulatory sandbox
  • Innovative partnerships for insurance, in particular engagement with nanolenders, MNOs and Fintechs to develop products suitable for their large customer bases

 

Other lab outcomes:

  • The Insurance Regulatory Authority of Kenya (IRA) is developing an innovation hub.
  • Linkages to the Government‘s „Big Four“ agenda (food security, manufacturing, low cost housing, universal health care) are being explored.
  • Significant peer support provided to other lab teams.
  • Study visits from Ghana to Kenya were influenced by discussions within the lab context.
  • Strong personal development of some team members.

 

Institutionalisation:

  • Branding for iii-lab (logo and flyer; co-financed by team members).
  • Proposal for longer-term support from IRA and insurance association.
  • Innovation hub to be established within IRA.
  • Various organisations and companies interested in partnering with the lab members.

Barriers chosen to focus on:

  • Lack of insurance awareness and negative perceptions of insurance.
  • Limited access to insurance beyond the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.

 

Innovations:

  • Insurance game app for mobile phone to improve insurance awareness
  • Inclusive insurance roadmap for the sector linked to the country’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy
  • Development of an inclusive insurance logo
  • “Insurance Supermarket” (software application to compare inclusive insurance products)

 

Other lab outcomes:

  • The mid-term strategic plan of the Financial Regulatory Commission of Mongolia (FRC) until 2025 now also includes a focus on how to increase insurance penetration and how to evolve inclusive insurance in Mongolia.
  • The definition of inclusive insurance has changed.
  • Paperless policies are now possible under the updated regulation (pending parliamentary approval).
  • The lab team provides comments to regulatory changes (definition of inclusive insurance; paperless policies; lab team members are developing product criteria for inclusive insurance for FRC approval).
  • Overall industry cooperation improved visibly. The latest example is an industry-wide marketing campaign (not individual) led by one of lab team members. Moreover, an insurance industry stakeholders workshop was organized during which the CEOs of insurance companies met to agree on the need for cooperation of the industry. Insurance company CEOs are now working together to try to address the negative image of insurance companies in Mongolia.
  • An inclusive cancer product has been launched.
  • A lab member was inspired by the Lab to reintroduce a micro medical insurance product and increase the company’s strategic focus on SMEs and microloan holders.
  • Lab team members are engaging in projects with each other outside of the lab.
  • During a TV programme for children, inclusive insurance was presented.

 

Institutionalisation:

  • A roadmap for inclusive insurance development for Mongolia is being finalised. The integration into the National Financial Inclusion Strategy planned.
  • Regular team meetings continue to take place.
  • The lab team developed a vision for 2022. The goal is to increase the insurance penetration rate from the current 0.4% to 1% or more by the year 2022 and to enable at least 80% of people in Mongolia to have access to insurance. The ultimate goal is to improve peoples’ lives.

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