RBAP holds 4th Microinsurance Roundtable Meeting with partners

The Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) convened partners and stakeholders who are active in the promotion of microinsurance in the country during the 4th of its roundtable meeting series last October 3.

Present at the event were eight (8) partner-insurers of RBAP, which include Bankers Assurance (MiCo), CocoLife, Country Bankers Insurance Group, Manila Bankers Life, MAPFRE Insular, MicroEnsure Philippines, Philippine Prudential Life, and Pioneer Insurance. Also in attendance were Acting Deputy Directors Gerardo Butardo and Atty. Manuel Seguerra of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Executive Director Joselito Almario of the Department of Finance National Credit Council.

RBAP-RBRDFI Training Officer Reo Nore Pardilla leads the soft launch of the RBAP Microinsurance Online Resource Portal.

Microinsurance Coordinator Ghay Lyne Mapano presented the project milestones of the Microinsurance Initiative, which is implemented by the Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation, Inc. with technical assistance from the United States Agency for International Development-supported RBAP-Microenterprise Access to Banking Services Program and funding support from the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Microinsurance Innovation Facility. Under this project, rural banks are provided with training and technical assistance to become licensed and accredited microinsurance agents properly authorized to distribute microinsurance products and services with their licensed partner insurance companies. Since the beginning of 2011, 297 bank staff from 145 rural banks have been successfully trained under the RBAP Basic Microinsurance Training Course. Seven (7) banks have received their licenses to offer microinsurance while more than forty (40) additional rural banks currently processing their applications with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Insurance Commission.

Cost-efficient microinsurance service delivery was also central to the discussion of the event. Mr. Mel Yuson of MyClick Technologies shared examples of how insurance partners can utilize SMS technology to improve service efficiency. In addition, Mr. Michael Puno of G-Xchange, Inc. emphasized how mobile phone banking services utilizing the GCASH platform may serve as an alternative claims pay-out option for clients.. This would especially benefit microinsurance clients who would have to travel far to receive their claim at a partner rural bank. By using GCASH to pay claims, clients could immediately receive their funds electronically and cash them out within their own communitieswith only a mobile phone.

Procedures on agent licensing was also discussed during the meeting. The Insurance Commission (IC) committed to a maximum of seven (7) working days to issue agent licenses – this was a direct result of the positive RBAP-IC-BSP dialogues that were held recently. The BSP has also processed No Objection notices quickly and efficiently, usually within two (2) weeks from filing. BSP Acting Deputy Governor Atty. Manuel Seguerra provided inputs on proper licensing application process and cited Memo Circular 683-2010 and BSP Memo 015-2011 as a reminder for responsible and proper offering of microinsurance services by the rural banks.

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Deputy Director Gerry Butardo explained that the recently issued BSP Memo 027-2011 expands the definition of microfinance clients who may access microinsurance services at rural banks. Clients classified as low-income households [with an annual family income below PhP 206,000 (US$ 4,760)] are included as microfinance clients for the purpose of microinsurance services. Executive Director Joselito Almario then shared updates on the National Financial Literacy Initiative spearheaded by the Department of Finance National Credit Council. He stressed the need to develop Financial Literacy Advocates that will lead to educate the public on insurance. So far, the initiative has brought together representatives from local government units, insurance companies, microfinance intermediaries and other stakeholders during its regional roadshow in Eastern Visayas.

RBAP also announced plans to launch their microinsurance website at microinsurance.rbap.org for all interested rural bankers to obtain up-to-date information about different microinsurance products and services that they can offer in partnership with the leading insurance companies.

Overall, the meeting demonstrated the hard work and continuous collaboration among rural banks and their multiple public and private sector partners which is now expanding microinsurance services for clients in rural areas of the countryside.  With the use of technology and increased healthy competition, we are now seeing the insurance industry offering better products and services for rural banks and their low-income clients.

Overall, the meeting demonstrated the hard work and continuous collaboration among rural banks and their multiple public and private sector partners which are now expanding microinsurance services for clients in rural areas of the countryside.  With the use of technology and increased healthy competition, we are now seeing the insurance industry offering better products and services for rural banks and their low-income clients.