Insurance regulators and supervisors from six Pacific Island countries – including Samoa – are gathering in Nadi this week to discuss how to develop and implement inclusive insurance regulations.
The workshop titled Inclusive Insurance: Regulatory Guidelines is being hosted by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme in association with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s (A.F.I) Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (P.I.R.I).
The workshop is being attended by supervisors from Central Banks, insurance commissions and private insurance companies from Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu (who are all P.I.R.I members).
A first of its kind, the workshop is focused on encouraging and inspiring insurance regulators and supervisors to design, develop and implement policies and frameworks to permit and encourage the growth of inclusive insurance markets and the supply of more affordable insurance products that are targeted at lower income people and communities.
The workshop will also cover a range of strategies, technical topics and international best practices focused on the creation and implementation of regulations that support the expansion of financial inclusion in the region.
Via a series of presentations, exercises and case studies, participants will exchange knowledge and views and gain a deeper understanding of inclusive insurance regulatory guidelines and how they can be used as part of the legal framework.
Following the workshop, Strategic Development Action Plans for each country will be built to map out a route leading to embedding inclusive insurance within national financial inclusion plans.
P.F.I.P Manager Mark Flaming said: “We know that low income households suffer debilitating consequences from unexpected cash emergencies. In this region, people struggle with natural disasters, in addition to usual problems associated with health and property. Insurance is an obvious solution to some of the most frequent and damaging emergencies.”
He added that we are still in the early phase of sorting this out. There is still a sizable gap between how mass market customers think about managing risk and the way the insurance industry packages the solutions, and a gap between what customers are willing to pay and a viable business model.
“The workshop is a great opportunity for insurance regulators to engage with the service providers to identify the role that policy and regulation can play in encouraging the next generation of innovation in the mass market insurance industry,” he said.
Chairman of the P.I.R.I, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Solomon Islands, Mr. Gane Simbe, said: “Inclusive insurance clearly has a place on the financial inclusion agenda that we, along with our development partners such as the P.F.I.P and donor partners are working to advance.
“It’s important to address the unique constraints to financial inclusion in the Pacific Islands and particularly the role of inclusive insurance in that effort, in order to help establish and grow inclusive insurance markets in Pacific countries.”