Inclusive insurance means not leaving anyone behind, said GIZ Regulatory Framework Promotion of Pro-poor Insurance Markets in Asia (RFPI Asia) programme director, Antonis Malagardis during his welcome address at the 1st Inclusive Insurance Conference yesterday morning. With the global protection gap estimated at $1trn, and climate risks increasing in severity by the year, the need for financial inclusion is greater than ever.
Mr Malagardis emphasised the importance of public-private dialogue but noted that equally as important is private-private dialogue. “When we talk about low income people, we have to go back to the public authorities, as they are the ones who can motivate discussions, the most funding and encourage inter-agency cooperation,” he said.
The biggest deficit in inclusive insurance is getting different agencies who have very different mandates to cooperate. “When it comes to disaster risk or climate risk, it is a very fragmented landscape, because the data is also fragmented,” he said.
While there have been great strides in inclusive insurance, there are still gaps – mobile insurance has done a lot to increase penetration, but it does nothing to help people who do not have mobile phones.
This is where technology and innovations in business models and back-end processes will play a part, although the authorities need to ensure that they do not over-regulate and stifle innovation, said Access to Insurance Initiative’s head of secretariat Hannah Grant.
While insurers have been innovating for many years, what is new is the pace of innovation over the past 5 years, which brings with it some risks, she said. Beyond ensuring that innovation does not cause unmanageable risks, regulators also have a role to play in encouraging and inspiring insurers to capitalise on the opportunities provided by these technologies.
“In the past, the supervisory approach could be best categorised as reactive, but now what we’re seeing is a much more proactive way of looking at insurance market development,” Ms Grant said. She also pointed out that insurance market development, alongside human interaction and financial stability are more frequently being included as part of the mandates for insurance supervisors, citing India’s Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority as an example.
The conference is held in Bangkok and is organised by Asia Insurance Review and RFPI Asia. It ends today.