The increasing relevance and impact of digital technology and innovation in growing and developing businesses, has come to the forefront in recent years. Recognizing this trend, the Microinsurance MBA Association of the Philippines Inc. (MiMAP) also known as RIMANSI, a network of mutual microinsurers in the Philippines, has promised to guide its members through this digital revolution to make them future-ready. RIMANSI recognizes that rapid digitalization poses a threat to the most vulnerable sectors, and therefore there is an urgent need to improve digital literacy and skills education for marginalized sections of society.
The recently concluded National Microinsurance Forum organized by RIMANSI and supported by a grant from Citi Foundation was organized to discuss these challenges and possible solutions. This is an annual event organized every January in celebration of National Microinsurance Month and provides a platform to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the microinsurance industry. This year’s theme was “Evolving with a Purpose in the Next Normal”, focusing on how microinsurance providers can adapt in a fast-changing and uncertain world.
Over 300 representatives of Microinsurance-Mutual Benefit Associations (Mi-MBAs), Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), Cooperatives (Coops), partner government and private sector institutions, and microinsurance providers and promoters in the country attended the forum.
Citi Philippines CEO and Country Head Paul Favila shared the following lessons and priorities realized by the bank during the pandemic in his opening message: investing in education, strengthening digitalization, and emphasizing a creative, resilient, and inclusive work culture.
Citi also expressed their commitment to achieving financial inclusion. “Citi remains committed to promoting financial inclusion and advancing economic progress in underserved communities. We do this through collaborating with clients and partners that have close relationships with the unbanked and underserved segments of society. We believe that good business goes hand in hand with making a positive impact in society,” said Paul Favila.
Deputy Insurance Commissioner of Legal Services Group Atty. Randy Serrano, one of the keynote speakers, announced the Insurance Commission’s plan to release a new framework following the “financial inclusion for economic growth” strategy of the Department of Finance. Atty. Serrano also stated that the Commission has endorsed to Congress a bill proposing to exempt microinsurance products from taxes.
At the event, MiMAP President and ASKI MBA CEO Ms. Emeteria Quijano launched an enhanced mobile application for the use of members, which aims to bridge the gaps in digital financial literacy among the marginalized groups.
The enhanced mobile app is a product of ’FinTech for Greater Financial Inclusion program’ supported by Citi Foundation which aims to: (1) enhance and replicate the previously developed Mi-MBA mobile application, (2) integrate e-money to the mobile application, and (3) mobilize members for financial education, mobile application subscription, and e-money account opening.
This mobile app was part of an earlier project called “Building Microinsurers’ Capacity for Greater Financial Inclusion Program III” which supported the growth strategy of Mi-MBAs to expand access of microinsurance products to uninsured and low-income households. A mobile application was developed and as a result, more than 30,000 members were reached and are now in the database.
According to Pelagia Mendones, General Manager of CARE MBA, “The enhanced mobile app will provide instant updates about our products and services. It will also allow us to quickly respond to our members queries and concerns and easily trace our members’ contribution to their respective cooperatives and/or banks.” Through programs like these, and with the support of both the government and private sectors, RIMANSI is hopefully that they will be better equipped to guide Filipino entrepreneurs in navigating an increasingly changing business environment and in ensuring a better future for the microfinance industry.