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Friday, 14 September 2012

The American Fraternal Alliance, a relatively new ICMIF member representing 60 fraternal benefit societies in the United States and Canada, is among the oldest insurance associations in the world. When ICMIF was formed in 1922, the Alliance – created in 1885 – was already 37 years old! Let me introduce you to who I affectionately call our fellow “North American Cousins!”

With roots in the Friendly Societies model, the first “Fraternals” made their appearance following the American Civil War in the late 1860s. They share the same values and philosophy as cooperative, mutual and other forms of member-owned, democratically governed...

Friday, 07 September 2012

The Latin American Reinsurance Group (LARG) is a group of ICMIF members who purchase their reinsurance as a group. The initial group was formed in 2004 with five original members to tackle difficulties in placing reinsurance treaties individually and the concept has since developed with the group now having 14 member organisations. The LARG is supported wholeheartedly by ICMIF and the group meets once a year in one of the member’s countries to enjoy training and presentations on issues relevant to the group. This event also provides the opportunity for networking amongst members, exchanging experiences and successes, and meeting with...

Friday, 24 August 2012

“Fairness” is not often a word positively associated with financial services nowadays. Banks may be bearing the brunt of this negativity (some would say justifiably); but it also taints consumers’ perceptions of insurers, particularly in markets where bancassurance has blurred the line between the two sectors.

Companies that are determined to restore the industry’s reputation require values-based strategies, strong leadership and real understanding of what customer fairness means.

These are the ingredients that have underpinned the successful growth of TeamBank in Germany. After creating a loan based on fairness as defined...

Friday, 17 August 2012

Business leaders should model their perspective on that of cooperatives and credit unions says Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators Group Ltd, Canada.

Capitalism is facing a crisis. The legacy of the current generation of business leaders will be their success or failure in fundamentally changing the role our organizations play.

The recent near-collapse of the financial system and its ongoing fallout brought to light systemic problems — but it didn’t create them. Much of the business community is afflicted with a compulsion to maximize short-term profit at the expense of virtually all else. This obsession,...

Friday, 03 August 2012

“There are thousands of paths. They all lead nowhere. You must ask yourself one question: ‘Does this path have a heart?’ If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.” The Teachings of Don Juan, Carlos Castaneda At the risk of repeating nearly every modern commentator, we now face unprecedented times with more and more difficult choices. Creating strategies with ‘heart’ has, in my opinion, never been more important. I joined ICMIF at the beginning of 2012, after almost a decade of leading the communications and brand team at one of Britain’s oldest and most respected mutual life assurers, Royal Liver Assurance. Based on...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The insurance industry is unique in that it doesn’t sell a tangible product it actually sells a promise to pay the policyholder should an event (usually an unfortunate one) befall the policyholder. That promise is based on TRUST and trust is an intangible asset that has to be earned. Trust is earned by being reliable and honest over a long period of time. This blog is focused on the history of insurance for a specific reason, to show why mutuals are more trusted and because this week, specifically Wednesday April 25, marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of ICMIF.

The basis of insurance, the sharing of risks, is inherently a...

Friday, 20 April 2012

Around the world, drivers have long been familiar with satellite navigation devices to help them find their way around. But now, GPS technology is also providing new directions for the marketing and underwriting of motor insurance. This month’s InSights looks at the latest developments in the usage of telematics, or “smartboxes” to enhance the competitiveness of motor insurers, crossing a range of strategic objectives. Smartbox technology is being used by a small number of ICMIF members to help them meet their business objectives - reducing theft loss ratios; differentiating themselves from competitors – and social objectives -...

Friday, 30 March 2012

For some time now, ICMIF has been promoting member engagement as one of the key competencies necessary for running a successful cooperative and mutual business. But it is clear that certain membership models make it easier to engage than others. So what challenges do the various models present and what are ICMIF members doing to address them?

It is pleasing to see that The Ownership Commission Report (recently published in the UK) is promoting the virtues of member engagement. The report will be used as a public policy document to encourage wider use of the employee ownership model particularly to deliver public services.

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Thursday, 22 March 2012

I’m a big fan of the Financial Times (FT). It is well respected globally and is an excellent source of business information, However, I recently read with mounting concern an article headlined as Delay for Co-op move on Lloyds’ branches.

It stated that the UK regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) was delaying approval of the Co-operative Group’s acquisition of 630 bank branches of the Lloyds Banking Group because, in its opinion, the governance of the Cooperative Group was too weak to run such a large bank. The FT stated that "the mutual comes under pressure to overhaul its board, which includes a Methodist minister, a...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

More than a billion people worldwide are now customer members of mutuals and cooperatives. It’s therefore unsurprising that our members continue to develop innovative ways to leverage customer benefits that are unique to the cooperative and mutual sector.

Take Australia, for example. Never has ICMIF’s mantra ‘Its Our Time’ been more relevant.

MDA National, a medical indemnity insurer for doctors, is now implementing the insights and ideas captured by their Head of Marketing, Michelle Finnigan, after she attended the ICMIF Marketing and Communications Network last December. MDA were already doing great work on their member...

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