Category Archives: Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

Smart Campaign Reaches Milestone with 100 Certifications in Financial Consumer Protection

The certification of 100 financial service providers, collectively serving more than 42 million low-income clients worldwide, marks major achievement for financial inclusion.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Smart Campaign, the leading industry voice on financial consumer protection, housed at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, announced today that 100 financial service providers (FSPs) have attained Smart Certification, a landmark achievement in responsible financial inclusion.

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. (PRNewsFoto/Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign launched the certification program in 2013 as a way for FSPs to align their policies and practices with industry-accepted Client Protection Principles, which articulate standards for product design and delivery, prevention of over-indebtedness, transparency, responsible pricing, treatment of clients, data privacy, and complaint resolution. In just five years of offering Smart Certification, 100 FSPs have successfully undergone the rigorous certification process, resulting in greater protection for more than 42 million low-income clients globally.

“Reaching this milestone and seeing the continued interest for certification from a wide range of providers – including fintech startups – is very encouraging,” said Isabelle Barrès, Director of the Smart Campaign. “It demonstrates that protecting consumers and building trust maximizes benefits for both the client and the companies that serve them.”

The certified FSPs are spread throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The momentum for certification signals that the industry increasingly values client protection not only for the sake of clients, but also because certification streamlines the business practices of FSPs. In a recent survey of certified institutions, 96% of providers agreed that certification helped them better prioritize client protection and 93% noted a clearer alignment between the institution’s culture and its social mission. Another benefit called out by certified FSPs includes increased recognition from clients, regulators, and potential investors. Increasingly, consumer protection is rightfully seen as a business strategy.

The Smart Campaign. (PRNewsFoto/The Smart Campaign) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign will continue its standard-setting and certification efforts with philanthropic support from a wide range of partners. In addition to advancing certification, the Campaign will also work to elevate the client voice in an increasingly digital world, shed light on emerging client risks, and convene policymakers and other stakeholders to effect change at the national level in the countries in which it has certified organizations.

About The Smart Campaign

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. As the world’s first financial consumer protection standard, the Campaign maintains a rigorous certification program, elevates the client voice, and convenes partners to effect change at the national level. Over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 42 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Campaign’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards. More at www.smartcampaign.org.

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

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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.