RBAP Holds 3rd Microinsurance roundtable meeting for partners & regulators

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On March 29, RBAP conducted the 3rd in a series of roundtable meetings designed to convene its partners and stakeholders from the commercial insurance industry, donor institutions and government regulators that are active in the promotion of microinsurance in the country.

Present at the event were nine (9) partner-insurers of RBAP, which include AA International, Bankers Assurance of Malayan Insurance, CocoLife, Country Bankers Group, Manila Bankers Life, MAPRE Insular, MicroEnsure Philippines, Philippine Prudential and Pioneer Insurance. Also in attendance were Deputy Director Gerry Butardo of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Deputy Commissioner Vida Chiong of the Insurance Commission, Executive Director Joselito Almario of the Department of Finance National Credit Council, and Dr. Piedad Geron of the Asian Development Bank.

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One of the highlights of the event was the signing of the Letter of Agreement by partner-insurance providers of RBAP as an expression of support to RBAP’s Microinsurance Licensing Training Course focusing on the fundamentals of microinsurance. The agreement also acknowledged the key role of RBAP as an assistance provider for rural banks vying for licensing and accreditation as microinsurance agents or brokers. The signed Letter of Agreement was later presented to the Insurance Commission in order to finalize the requirements for RBAP to be a fully authorized training provider for Basic Microinsurance for rural banks.

As witnesses to the signing ceremonies, the Insurance Commission, the BSP and the DOF-NCC offered their own updates to the government’s efforts to mainstream microinsurance access in the country.  The Insurance Commission encouraged RBAP and its partner-insurers to pursue licensing and product approval as the Commission strives to streamline its systems and procedures.

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Deputy Commissioner Chiong (leftmost photo) assured the group of the forthcoming release of Guidelines on licensing of Microinsurance Brokers.  Deputy Director Gerry Butardo (center photo), meanwhile, offered a reminder for all rural banks trained by RBAP to submit their Request for No Objection Notice to initiate their licensing application.  Executive Director Joselito Almario (rightmost photo) then shared news of the ongoing activities of the National Technical Working Group to launch the Financial Literacy Training Program to enhance the poor’s understanding and appreciation for microinsurance and other financial protection mechanisms.

Core to the event’s discussions were opportunities emerging from the recently issued regulations as the BSP Memo Circular 694-2010 (Amendment of Establishment of Other Banking Offices and Notes on Microfinance), the Insurance Commission Memo Circular 06-2011 (Guidelines for the Approval of Training Programs and Licensing of Microinsurance Agents), and the BSP Memorandum M-2011-015 (Reminder on the Proper Offering of Microinsurance Services).

The issuance of BSP Memo Circular 694-2010 Annex A notes the expansion of the definition of microfinance clients to include micro-depositors of rural banks.  With the inclusion of micro-depositors, more rural bank clients will be eligible for access to microinsurance services.

Meanwhile, the salient issue taken up on IC Memo Circular 06-2011 was the proposed structure of the microinsurance agent/broker training, which will have RBAP-Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (RBRDFI) providing two of the required three days of training to develop knowledge and skills of rural banks on the fundamentals of microinsurance with the 3rd day arranged for microinsurance product mastery training with the banks’ selected insurance provider.   While the proposed training structure was seen as cost-efficient by partner-insurers of RBAP, it will have to go through a formal review and approval process by the Insurance Commission.