April 5, 2016
Nadi, Fiji – Insurance regulators and supervisors from six Pacific Island countries gather this week in Nadi to discuss how to develop and implement inclusive insurance regulations.
The workshop titled Inclusive Insurance: Regulatory Guidelines is being hosted by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme in association with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s (AFI) Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI), and will be held at the Sofitel Hotel in Nadi, from the 5th – 7th April, 2016
The workshop will be attended by supervisors from central banks, insurance commissions and private insurance companies from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu (who are all PIRI members).
A first of its kind, the workshop is focused on encouraging and inspiring insurance regulators and supervisors to design, develop and implement policies and frameworks to permit and encourage the growth of inclusive insurance markets and the supply of more affordable insurance products that are targeted at lower income people and communities. The workshop will also cover a range of strategies, technical topics and international best practices focused on the creation and implementation of regulations that support the expansion of financial inclusion in the region.
Via a series of presentations, exercises and case studies, participants will exchange knowledge and views and gain a deeper understanding of inclusive insurance regulatory guidelines and how they can be used as part of the legal framework. Following the workshop, Strategic Development Action Plans for each country will be built to map out a route leading to embedding inclusive insurance within national financial inclusion plans.
Commenting on the upcoming workshop, PFIP Manager Mark Flaming said, “We know that low income households suffer debilitating consequences from unexpected cash emergencies. In this region, people struggle with natural disasters, in addition to usual problems associated with health and property. Insurance is an obvious solution to some of the most frequent and damaging emergencies.”
He added that we are still in the early phase of sorting this out. There is still a sizable gap between how mass market customers think about managing risk and the way the insurance industry packages the solutions, and a gap between what customers are willing to pay and a viable business model.
“The workshop is a great opportunity for insurance regulators to engage with the service providers to identify the role that policy and regulation can play in encouraging the next generation of innovation in the mass market insurance industry,” he said.
Chairman of the PIRI, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, Mr. Gane Simbe, said “inclusive insurance clearly has a place on the financial inclusion agenda that we, along with our development partners such as the PFIP and donor partners are working to advance.
“It’s important to address the unique constraints to financial inclusion in the Pacific Islands and particularly the role of inclusive insurance in that effort, in order to help establish and grow inclusive insurance markets in Pacific countries.”
The High Commissioner of Australia to Fiji, Ms. Margaret Twomey was keynote speaker at the opening today.
Other notable speakers include Mr. Eliki Vula Boletawa, Head of Policy Programmes and Regional Initiatives at AFI and the Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor Mr. Barry Whiteside.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme helping low-income households gain access to quality and affordable financial services and financial education. It is jointly managed by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.
PFIP aims to add one million Pacific Islanders to the formal financial sector by 2019 by supporting innovation in the service industry, the policy and regulatory arena, and in the fields of financial education and consumer empowerment.
The AFI Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI), previously called the Pacific Islands Financial Inclusion Working Group (PIWG), was originally formed in 2009 at the request of the central banks of Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste. Tonga joined in 2012.
This regional initiative provides a long-term opportunity for member institutions to share a common vision, while working toward ensuring financial services are widely accessed throughout a region with one of the highest unbanked rates globally due to factors that include geographically dispersed islands with low density populations, and challenges related to physical and banking infrastructure.
AFI’s unique peer-to-peer learning model encourages and enables financial policymakers to interact and exchange knowledge. This information interchange results in the building of a more comprehensive knowledge base on financial inclusion and the subsequent formulation and implementation of effective policy by members in their home countries.
For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Erica Lee – Communications Associate; Tel: +679 322 7538; Mobile +679 9214638