TALENT: Developing talent and leadership through ICMIF’s work in emerging markets

The company

Thrivent (USA) is a large life insurer which became a supporter of ICMIF’s 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy. As a part of the 5-5-5 programme, ICMIF is partnering with its member CIC Insurance Group (Kenya), to help its insurance solutions for low-income populations reach scale. The CIC project aims to supply 250,000 dairy farmers with affordable livestock microinsurance over a five-year period. Thrivent chose to provide a financial investment as well as technical assistance to the CIC project.

The assignment

Thrivent assigned two employees the opportunity to spend three months working at CIC to support the project: Ellie Anderson, an Innovation Consultant, and Dan Wanous, Business development lead. The purpose of the assignment was to provide strategic advice to support the first few months of the CIC project.

Ellie and Dan joined the CIC project team, working with CIC employees on contracts, infrastructure, and systems for the insurance plans. Dan also worked with a technology vendor to start developing SMS/app-based services for farmers, while Ellie focused on a training schedule and marketing plan for the product. Ellie and Dan also had the opportunity to help organise and attend a training session for 900 farmers, which was part of CIC’s insurance literacy training programme for low-income farmers.

At the end of the three-month assignment, Ellie and Dan had mapped end-to-end customer experience and operations processes and created a template for tracking business growth and societal impact of the Kenya project. Since returning to Thrivent, Ellie has found her experience of applying human-centred design invaluable when approaching business decisions from the customers’ perspective.

Dan is also on a new business development team at Thrivent following his time at CIC, and has found his experience in Kenya around go-to-market strategies very valuable in his new role. Ellie said: “The immersive, hands-on experience of supporting the launch of a microinsurance business gave me a rich perspective on many foundational elements of strategy, business and leadership. I saw the power of mutual insurance to reach new markets, deepening my commitment to the mutual model.” Dan said: “I learnt so much in that period of three months. I came back a more valuable, passionate and engaged employee.”


CIC appreciated the time Ellie and Dan spent with them, too:

“They were dedicated and enthusiastic individuals who brought a wealth of new ideas and practices to the project. The processes and strategies developed by Ellie and Dan will be instrumental in helping CIC protect the lives and livelihoods of many more low-income farmers in Kenya.”

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