Name of PARTNER (s): Apia Insurance Company (AIC)
Grant: USD $39,680
Target: 2,000 Customers
Current reach: – 111 (Dec 2018)
Funerals are one of the big expense lifecycle events for Samoans. The costs of funerals in Samoa are particularly impacted by cultural traditions regarding obligations and hospitality arrangements, meaning that often, bereaved families obtain expensive non-collateralized loans at short notice. A low to middle income family typically spends between WST 15,000 to WST 30,000 (USD 6,000 – USD 12,500) for one funeral. There is no funeral expenses insurance product in the market and savings for funerals is not a common practice. Families rely on multiple sources to fund the expenses, most importantly community support. Despite the communal support, almost every family takes loans, often multiple loans, from informal money lenders, small finance companies, employers, and the provident fund. Banking history and formal employment are the typical minimum requirements to get a loan, which means 70% adults do not qualify, leaving a significant gap and pushing people to use informal sources of credit.
The project will introduce a new product and delivery service to the market through AIC. PFIP will partner with AIC to design, test and implement the funeral expenses insurance product using effective customer service practices and systems; thereby, helping to institutionalize a culture of customer centricity in offering products and services to low income households. The project team is resourced to develop and assess the business case for the product. AIC will calculate the financial risks and the pricing analysis and create various business scenarios and flexed assumptions to assess the risk level of the project. The team will be headed by a full-time project manager/cum business analyst, who will be supported by a full-time customer service officer. PFIP will provide the technical support for product and service design through a combination of in-house and external experts. This also includes helping the team to set up a data analysis framework, training the team in service design methods, and overseeing the implementation of an agreed work plan.
The project will be implemented using an Innovation Lab approach over 12 months. The first three months will be used to get the new product to the market with essential business processes and customer service systems in place. The last six months will be used for a follow-up work and subsequent execution. Discussion are ongoing with a microfinance company and two banks to become AIC’s distribution and premium collection agents. AIC will underwrite and distribute it, meaning that AIC will be responsible for deciding the product design, pricing, customer eligibility criteria, sales channels and claims payments.
The project will have two main phases.
Several banks and non-banking institutions have shown interest in being agents for this product (providing the insurance to their customer bases). These institutions can potentially act as distribution and premium collection agents. The phase 2 will include a number of tests and models for mass market distribution using third party agents and technology and the distribution team will be provided with training on the product and test plan.
AIC is a private, locally incorporated and owned non-life insurance company in Samoa that started operations in 2007. It offers a range of property and vehicle insurance products. As of October 2017, AIC had 1,000 customers and has one main branch office with a total of eight staff, including two sales staff.