August 15, 2013
“In the Pacific, the largest proportion of the population; those who are most vulnerable to shocks and suffer the most, do not have access to any insurance products. As insurance acts as a safety net for families it is important to expand the access to insurance to the large segment of uninsured population.”
This was the message shared by the UNDP Pacific Centre Manager Peter Batchelor at the opening of the Insurance Supervisors Workshop at Novotel, Nadi. He said, “It was important to expand the access to insurance frontier without compromising on prudential oversight and consumer protection”.
In addition, he said, “it is critical to develop a strong supervisory framework as regulatory certainty would potentially attract more investors and capital leading to further development of a robust insurance market”.
Participants include regulators and supervisors from five Pacific island countries and Timor Leste. The participants will share and learn through the week from interactive case studies on on-site and off-site supervision, on appropriate regulatory frameworks for development of inclusive insurance, practical risk management exercises and a field visit to a microinsurance pilot project.
Participants will take away a manual for carrying out on-site inspections and a regulatory toolbox that lays out specific actions for different regulatory scenarios. The training is being facilitated by ADB Senior Financial Sector Specialist Arup Chatterjee and International Regulatory Expert Russell Leith.
Mr. Reuben Summerlin, Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme Manager said the key learning for participants is “How to apply the proportionality principle using insurance core principles in accordance with the nature, scale and complexity of the risks posed by individual insurers and insurance intermediaries”.
Mr. Eliki Boletawa, Policy Advisor at Alliance for Financial Inclusion said it is important to focus on consumer protection and lay emphasis on covering insurance concepts through targeted financial literacy programs to better inform the large segment of uninsured population.
Participants include Insurance Supervisors and Regulators from the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands, the Central Bank of Samoa, Reserve Bank of Vanuatu, Bank of Papua New Guinea, Office of the Insurance Commission’s (PNG), Reserve Bank of Fiji and the Banco Central de Timor Leste.
The workshop is organized by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) in partnership with Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), the Pacific Islands Working Group (PIWG) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). This is the second workshop and is in response to the country action plans that were developed as a result of last year’s workshop by the PIWG members.
The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is a joint programme of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with additional funding support from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the European Union/Africa, Caribbean and PacificMicrofinance Framework Programme (EU/ACP).