ICMIF/Americas' Achievements over 35 Successful Years Advancing the Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Industry Throughout the Americas
COOPERATIVE INSURANCE COMPANY CREATION
ICMIF/Americas has played a leading role in the creation and expansion of eight cooperative insurance companies in Central and South America and the Caribbean. These companies include: Coop-Seguros, Dominican Republic; Cooperators General, Barbados; Columna, Guatemala; Seguros Futuro, El Salvador; Equidad Seguros, Honduras; Tajy, Paraguay; SURCO, Uruguay; and ServiPeru, Peru. Many of these companies began as insurance departments within national credit union federations. ICMIF/Americas continues to work with nascent insurance departments and other organizations offering insurance protections to their members in Peru, Mexico, Nicaragua and Trinidad & Tobago.
INSURANCE ACCESS FOR LOW INCOME POPULATIONS
ICMIF/Americas was an early pioneer in helping cooperative and mutual insurers in The Americas to develop products and services that are specifically designed for low income populations (also known as "microinsurance"). Historically cooperative and mutual insurers from across The Americas have strongly supported and been actively involved in these activities, which include the donation of technical assistance, training and financial support to help create and strengthen indigenous insurance companies in developing countries.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was first to recognize ICMIF/Americas members' potential to help make insurance protections more widely available to low income populations. From 1982-1986, USAID awarded ICMIF/Americas a yearly grant for $57,000, which rose to $108,000/year between the years of 1987-1990. Through the 1990s, USAID funding for activities the Caribbean and Central America averaged $200,000/year. In 2004, ICMIF/Americas's 23 years of experience paid off with the most recent award of a five year $3.5 million grant entitled Cooperative Insurance: Mitigating the Socio-Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS and Poverty in the Americas .
Among activities include technical workshops and seminars on insurance operations, claims management, underwriting, reinsurance review and analysis, actuarial assessment, product development and marketing, human resources, executive management, governance, information technology, leadership, organizational culture, strategic planning, financial evaluation, and legal analysis of draft insurance and cooperative laws.
MEMBER TO MEMBER TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
The cooperative principle of "cooperation among cooperatives" is strong among ICMIF/Americas member companies. ICMIF/Americas facilitates connections between member companies for the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and experience. Recent technical assistance programs between member companies include one between faith-based insurance companies of Goodville Mutual Insurance Company in the US (Mennonite) and Takaaful Trinidad and Tobago (Muslim). Seguros Multiples of Puerto Rico has provided technical assistance to ICMIF/Americas members in Uruguay, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Barbados.
Through its funding arm "Allnations," ICMIF/Americas and its parent organization, the International Cooperative/Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), assist emerging cooperative and mutual insurance companies obtain access to capital. A capital investments have been made in SURCO in Montevideo, Uruguay which ICMIF/Americas and ICMIF further supported with funding for market studies and technical exchanges between other ICMIF/Americas members in Puerto Rico and Colombia. Coopseguros del Ecuardo also received an Allnations investment. ICMIF/Americas connections have led several member companies to become investors in other member companies, for example: La Equidad in Colombia has invested in coopeative insurers in Uruguay, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Ecuador; Seguros Multiples of Puerto Rico has invested in cooperative insurers in Uruguay, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Colombia. La Segunda in Argentina invested in cooperative insurers in Paraguay and Uruguay.
REINSURANCE ACCESS AND EDUCATION
ICMIF/Americas and ICMIF help member cooperative and mutual insurance companies to obtain access to reinsurance (insurance for insurance companies). In other instances, through ICMIF/Americas members are pooling their reinsurance needs together to negotiate more favorable rates from reinsurers (see Latin American Reinsurance Group). In addition, ICMIF/Americas and ICMIF provide ongoing reinsurance education to member companies which is critical for protecting their assets and reserves.
EDUCATION AND NETWORKING
ICMIF/Americas affords unparalleled opportunities for professional development, institutional strengthening, knowledge sharing, and business networking opportunities. ICMIF/Americas's Annual Conference is the major gathering of the cooperative and mutual insurance industry in The Americas.
ICMIF/Americas has published several monographs on cooperative insurance development including Insuring Development through Popular-Based Insurance ; Insuring Microenterprise Loans: A Primer for Micro-Finance Institutions ; Insuring Microenterprises , and Impact of Group-based Insurance Programs in Colombia, Bolivia and Guatemala. In 2004, ICMIF/Americas launched its own Web site with extensive resources in members-only areas.
Starting out in 1979 with 11 US, Canadian and Puerto Rican cooperative and mutual insurers, ICMIF/Americas has augmented its growth today to 67 member companies in 20 countries in North America, Central America, South America and Caribbean.