September 30, 2016
A simple text message is all it will take Pacific Islanders to sign up to new microinsurance products providing a crucial safety net for families.
BIMA, a world-leading mobile micro-insurance provider, and the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) have launched their second major joint initiative that will provide microinsurance products to underserved communities across five Pacific Island Countries.
PFIP has provided a grant to BIMA to bring simple, affordable microinsurance products to low-income, rural and underserved communities in Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa and Nauru.
BIMA will offer customers both life and hospital cash insurance products, with the goal of delivering insurance products to over 90,000 previously uninsured people over the next two years, beginning with Fiji this month.
BIMA will set up a Fiji-based “Pacific Hub” call centre to service all five countries. Outbound calls will be made by BIMA agents to Digicel subscribers, explaining and offering the microinsurance products. This type of hub based sales and servicing arrangement is a new business model for BIMA, and builds on the experience gained from the successful partnership between BIMA, Digicel and Capital Insurance in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
PFIP Manager Mark Flaming said “BIMA’s track record in delivering microinsurance products around the world, including in Papua New Guinea through the assistance of PFIP has been very encouraging and PFIP is excited and pleased to support its expansion in the Pacific.”
Speaking about the PFIP support, Simon Schwall said “We believe that insurance is a powerful tool that can prevent individuals from falling back into poverty, improving the strength of the communities that they live in. Our approach provides access to insurance for every family, driving insurance inclusion on an unprecedented scale. BIMA is really proud of the impact we’ve had so far, and we look forward to working with PFIP and our other partners to further transform the insurance landscape across the Pacific.”
“In Fiji, BIMA has partnered with Dominion Insurance (a subsidiary of Capital Insurance Group) for underwriting the insurance policies, believing that partnering with strong Insurance companies with an established local footprint is essential to their long-term success
In July 2015, PFIP and BIMA entered its first partnership in PNG with the objective of reaching rural populations in targeted areas. The PFIP grant was important and needed, it facilitated the rapid expansion of rural offices and agent sales force deployments in rural regions to meet customer demand.
As at June 2016, BIMA has had an additional outreach of 282,289 unique customers in PNG, providing a vital formal ‘safety net’ for their families for the first time thanks to PFIP’s support.
How does the product work?
Subscribers can choose BIMA Life plans between three different levels of cover: FJD $3,000, $6,000 or $12,000 and designate a beneficiary, who will receive this amount in the event of death or permanent disability. Registering is easy and free, allowing individuals to safeguard their family’s well-being through premiums as low as 15 cents per day or $2.70 per month.
The BIMA Hospital cash plans range from as little as $2.70 per month for ‘basic cover’, $5.40 per month for ‘medium cover’ and $10.80 per month for ‘high cover’, which pays out $24, $48 or $96 respectively for each night spent by subscribers in hospital.
Terms and conditions are available through a simple menu on the customer’s phone and more information can be obtained at every Digicel store. Customer care contact details are given during signup as well – both verbally and via an SMS (text message).
Payment is processed via a customers’ phone, through automatic airtime deductions, with customers opting to make daily or monthly premium payments.
To be eligible for BIMA insurance cover, customers must be between 18 and 60 years of age, in good health at the time of registration and be a Digicel subscriber. Customers provide general contact information and details regarding their chosen beneficiary. No formal identity documents are required at the time of registration and no cash changes hands at any time.
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 UN 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 spearheading policy and regulatory initiatives, facilitating access to appropriate financial services and delivery channels and by strengthening financial competencies and consumer empowerment.
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BIMA offers mobile financial services to the unbanked, with a focus on micro-insurance. The company, formed in 2010, works to bring more affordable insurance to people in emerging markets via their mobile phones and already covers millions of people across Africa, Asia and Latin America. BIMA has grown rapidly since its launch and now reaches 20 million customers in 15 markets with insurance products such as life, accident and health coverage policies.
BIMA’s customer base is growing at a rate of 700,000 new policyholders per month, reflecting large-scale demand for its products and its low-cost operational and distribution model. Its shareholders include emerging markets focused investors Kinnevik, LeapFrog Investments and Millicom. Digicel, one of the largest mobile network operators in the Pacific, has also provided USD 5 million in investment to bring micro-insurance to the Caribbean and Asia Pacific, including PNG.