Daily Archives: January 8, 2018

Insurers Leverage New Technologies and Reinvent Business Models to Reach Underserved Consumers, Report Finds

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), with the support of MetLife Foundation, today released a new report detailing the factors spurring inclusive insurance around the world. It reveals how both traditional and new insurers are breaking open new markets and reaching underserved customers through the use of innovative technologies, business models, product design, and partnerships, enabled by effective regulatory environments.

The report, “Inclusive Insurance: Closing the Protection Gap for Emerging Customers” is based on extensive interviews with commercial insurers and insurance experts who are making inclusive insurance work as a successful business model. With insights from players at the frontlines, the report identifies the main challenges of providing insurance to lower income populations, as well as the solutions companies are using to overcome them. For example, companies are:

  • Using new distribution channels and aggregators – from telcos to farmer cooperatives – to identify and connect with low-income customers
  • Implementing new business models and products to provide and administer the risk mitigation solutions that low-income customers need
  • Deploying “insurtech” innovations and digital channels to connect with, and service, low-income customers

The market for inclusive insurance is vast, largely untapped, and potentially profitable. The confluence of rising incomes in emerging markets, and new technologies that reduce risk assessment and distribution costs, offer an opportunity for more insurers to meet the needs of the estimated 3.8 billion people who remain underserved or unserved.

“Even among people with very little disposable income, insurance can be a vital tool to manage financial risks and mitigate the effects of shocks,” said Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. “Rising incomes around the world create new market opportunities, making long-term investment in inclusive insurance both profitable for insurers and meaningful in terms of social benefits.”

The inclusive insurance strategies highlighted in the report include eliminating costly verification screenings to identify “exclusions,” offering insurance policies without any fine print, triggering payouts based on verifiable events or data instead of claim submissions, and engineering more frequent payouts to consumers. The report also features examples of protective life and health insurance products designed to serve low-income customers, as well as newer products related to climate change, natural disasters, and food security.

“This report invites us to re-think the concept of insurance and its fundamental role in society. It is our hope that this report enables our diverse membership—particularly those financial institutions not yet active in insurance—to leverage their expanding work with underserved customers to help close the insurance gap,” said Conan French, Senior Advisor for Innovation and Fintech at the Institute of International Finance.

The new report is part of a two-year initiative from CFI and the IIF, with support from MetLife Foundation, to help advance the financial services industry’s ability to reach unserved and underserved populations. The project, titled “Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion: Best Practices,” facilitates learning and action on how financial institutions can respond to the specific challenges of reaching lower income market segments.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

www.cfi-blog.org

@CFI_Accion

About the Institute of International Finance

The Institute of International Finance is the global association of the financial industry, with close to 500 members from 70 countries. Its mission is to support the financial industry in the prudent management of risks; to develop sound industry practices; and to advocate for regulatory, financial and economic policies that are in the broad interests of its members and foster global financial stability and sustainable economic growth. IIF members include commercial and investment banks, asset managers, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, central banks and development banks. For more information visit www.iif.com.

 

 

WHO: Mystery Outbreak in South Sudan Kills Three

GENEVA Three people in South Sudan have died of a suspected viral hemorrhagic fever and 60 of their contacts are being monitored for any infection, the World Health Organization said Monday.

Ebola, Marburg and yellow fever are among viral hemorrhagic fevers that have caused deadly outbreaks in Africa. More than 11,300 people died during the worst outbreak of Ebola, a highly contagious disease, which mainly affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2013 to 2016.

The three people in South Sudan � a pregnant woman, a teenage girl and a boy � all died in December and were from the same village in Yirol East county in the eastern Lakes State. But there had been no known contact among them.

No tissue or blood samples were collected from their bodies for analysis, and South Sudan health authorities reported the cases on Dec. 28, the WHO said in a statement.

“The outbreak of suspected viral hemorrhagic fever in South Sudan could rapidly evolve, and critical information including laboratory confirmation of the etiology of disease is needed to direct response efforts,” it said.

National health authorities and WHO are investigating and have found evidence of zoonotic hemorrhagic illness in goats and sheep in the area, including some deaths, as well as deaths among wild birds at the time, it added.

Source: Voice of America

Death Toll in South Africa Listeria Outbreak Jumps to 61

JOHANNESBURG The death toll from an outbreak of listeria in South Africa has jumped beyond 60 in the past month, health authorities said Monday, adding they had closed a poultry abattoir where the bug that causes the disease had been detected.

Since monitoring of the outbreak began last January, 720 laboratory-confirmed cases of food poisoning due to the disease, also known as listeriosis, have been reported, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) said.

That was up from 557 in December, since when recorded deaths had risen to 61 from 36.

A food microbiologist said the “alarming” outbreak appeared to be the biggest ever recorded and could spread further if it was not tackled urgently.

“Of the documented outbreaks globally that we know of … our numbers are way above any of those other cases,” said Dr. Lucia Anelich, who runs her own food safety consultancy.

The Department of Health said it had closed a poultry abattoir operated by Sovereign Foods in the capital Pretoria after detecting listeria there, and had banned the facility from preparing food in December.

The department said it did not yet know whether this abattoir was the source of the outbreak, which the NICD said was still unknown.

Sovereign Foods, which delisted from the Johannesburg stock exchange in November, said the prohibition on the abattoir was lifted Monday after the listeria bacterium was not found in the latest samples from the plant.

“Despite being declared clean and free of the listeria bacterium, we are further strengthening steps to render products safer than they already are,” said Sovereign Foods head of production Blaine van Rensburg.

Listeria food poisoning is a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed in time. The bacteria can be found in animal products including cold cut meats, poultry and unpasteurized milk, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

The disease can cause flu-like symptoms and diarrhea, and in more severe cases spread from the intestine to the blood, causing bloodstream infections, or to the central nervous system, causing meningitis.

Anelich said a listeriosis strain known as ST6 had been identified in nine out of 10 of the South African cases. That should make tracing the source easier, “because now we know that it probably originates from one processing facility.”

A health department official said the strain was not drug-resistant and that the deaths were due to delays in diagnosis, meaning cases were not treated in time.

Source: Voice of America

Secretary-General announces Special Investigation into attacks on peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo

The Secretary-General today (January 6, 2018) announced the appointment ofDmitry Titov of Russia to lead a Special Investigation intorecentattacks on peacekeepers and peacekeeping bases in the Beni territory of North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo. This Special Investigation will include a focuson the 7 December attack in Semuliki, in which 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed,43 wounded and one remains missing.

The Special Investigation will examine the circumstances surrounding these attacks, evaluate MONUSCO’s overall preparedness and response to the events and provide recommendations on how to prevent such attacks from occurring in the future or when they do occur, from having such lethal consequences.The investigation team will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo early in January and will also visit relevant countries in the Great Lakes region. In addition to officials of the United Nations, the team will also include two military officers from Tanzania.

Mr. Titov joined the United Nations in 1991. He served as Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) from 2007 � 2017. Mr. Titov also served as Africa Director in DPKO’s Office of Operations.

Source: United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.