BIMA Pacific Expansion – Pacific Hub
Country: Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa and Nauru
Date: April 2016 – March 2018
Grant: USD $500,641
Target: 91,420 previous uninsured clients
Current reach: 28,873 unique clients and 57, 193 policies (health/life) (as of 30th September 2017)
The South Pacific region is characterised by a diversity of small countries each with their own culture, languages, economic resources, prospects and development challenges. They have in common an exposure to similar risks such as unstable, undiversified economies, natural catastrophes, political instability and a challenging business environment where distribution and logistics is a major issue.
PFIP-supported Demand Side Surveys highlight low insurance coverage for the region, ranging from just 5% of the population covered in Vanuatu, to 21% in Samoa, with coverage focused heavily on urban areas.
The challenge is to provide affordable insurance safety nets for low income earners and rural underserved communities that are presently outside of formal financial services.
To extend the reach of BIMA’s micro-insurance services to five additional countries in the Pacific (Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa and Nauru), including setting up a “Pacific Hub” call centre in Fiji that will service these new markets. BIMA’s presence in the Pacific was previously limited to Papua New Guinea (PNG). BIMA’s micro-insurance products are delivered exclusively through mobile phones and include life-insurance and health insurance.
BIMA offers mobile financial services to the unbanked, with a focus on micro-insurance. BIMA works with traditional insurance companies and mobile network operators. It uses technology based solutions to bridge the two sectors and provides further support on distribution, product development, administration and daily management. BIMA enables low-cost insurance to be easily purchased by low-income people. Its insurance products are cheaper, more convenient and simpler to use than traditional insurance and many typical micro-insurance products which makes them appealing to low-income customers.
PFIP’s grant assistance will help lower the risk profile of the project, improving the probability of sustainability and long-term presence of BIMA in the region as a provider of micro insurance products to low income individuals. The project aims to reach 91,420 previously uninsured people within two years.
Outbound calls will be made to Digicel subscribers in the five nations mentioned above offering the microinsurance products. This business model represents an extension of the existing partnership between BIMA and Digicel since Digicel operates in these five countries with a customer base of over 300,000 prepay users.
As languages, customs and education levels differ in each market, BIMA will recruit individuals that originate from these countries to work in the “Pacific Hub” call centre. They will be organised in teams and country-specific approaches will be designed to ensure that the information and explanations used are relevant to each culture.
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.