Communicating the mutual difference

In February 2022, ICMIF launched a new report Leveraging the mutual difference which shared the findings of a recent member survey of marketing and communication functions across the ICMIF membership to see how members used their mutual/cooperative status as a point of difference when marketing and communicating to customers, when recruiting and when communicating with employees. The unique differentiators which many ICMIF members shared, coupled with ICMIF’s own research and subsequent financial insights, demonstrated clear opportunities for ICMIF members to market their mutual and cooperative difference as this resonates and aligns with a variety of their stakeholders.

This webinar features case studies derived from the report featuring three ICMIF members in the UK, South Africa and the Philippines who are actively leveraging their mutual/cooperative difference when communicating to stakeholders.


  • Adriaan Bester, General Manager: Corporate Affairs, AVBOB (South Africa)
  • Juliet Allister, Marketing Leader, Cornish Mutual (UK)
  • Jackelyn Ballena, Vice President for Operations (Life), 1CISP (Philippines)

Gareth Kendrick:

Hello and warm welcome to today’s webinar. My name is as Gareth Kendrick and I work within ICMIF’s membership services team, and I’ll be hosting this webinar today. Today’s speakers truly represent the global nature of ICMIF. We’re delighted to be joined by speakers in the United Kingdom, in South Africa, and the Philippines. And these members will demonstrate how they are leveraging their mutual differentiators when dealing with customers externally, internally, and with clients and recruitment. Before I introduce our speakers today, it would be very useful to provide a little bit of background as to how this webinar came about.

Last August issued a survey to its full membership, to better understand how our members are leveraging their mutual differentiators, but also to find out more in general about how our members are marketing and their communications. Once we received the responses, we then performed an internal piece of research, which was really to find out whether those members that do market their mutual differentiators are actually outperforming in their national markets too.

The report was launched in February. I would encourage all members to read and share the report if you haven’t already done so. As you can see, the link to the report is on the screen at the moment. And we’ll also share a link directly to the report in the wrap up email, which will be sent post webinar to everyone. The survey respondents also indicated that they would like to view more webinars on this theme, which is what we are providing here for you today. And also, that they would like more case studies around this team. So, if any members after hearing today’s presentations feel that they’ve got a case study that they would like to share with us, then please do so. We want to increase our information within our knowledge hub and be able to disseminate that information widely with all members in our sharing platform.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce today’s speakers with you today. We have Juliet Allister who is Marketing Leader at Cornish Mutual in the UK, Adriaan Bester who is General Manager of Corporate Affairs, AVBOB in South Africa. And Jackelyn Ballena, who is Vice President Operations for Life at 1CISP in Philippines. So firstly, I’m going to head due south from where I’m in the UK today around five hours and handover now to Juliet at Cornish Mutual. Juliet over to you.

Juliet Allister:

Thank you very much for the introduction Gareth, and thank you for inviting me to take part in this ICMIF webinar today.

So to start with, I thought I just tell you a little bit about Cornish Mutual for those that aren’t aware, we are a Southwest general insurance mutual providing insurance to the four counties of the Southwest, which is Cornwell, Devon, Somerset and Dorsett. For those that don’t know, the Southwest is one of the largest regions in England. It’s got a population of just over 6 million, and the longest coastline of any English regions. Meaning that we have some fantastic beaches and it’s very sunny today so that’s very good.

We were founded in 1903 by farmers, for farmers, very much a relationship business, and offered tailored insurance products, covering farms, vehicles, businesses, and homes. We’re a team of around a hundred and a gross written premium of over 25 million. The key non five financial metrics that we look at are our high net promoter score, very low complaints and dissatisfactions, and a high retention level of around well over 90%. If we look back to 2019, our vision was to be the rural insurance provider of choice in the Southwest, our branding Cornish Mutual Insurance that keeps its word. Absolutely a well respected brand, but with a lack of focus and purpose, an undifferentiated proposition and a lacking any emotional resonance. If you weren’t a member, would you get a sense of who we were and what we are about?

This slide shows an example of our creative execution in 2019, clear branding, visually appealing, but lacking an emotional connection and any clear communication of our mutuality outside of our name, Cornish Mutual.

In 2020, we set about redefining our brand strategy and purpose. This was a thorough process involving desk research, internal brand sessions, member and prospect visits, along with visits to the county agricultural shows where we could get to talk to our members. The results of these collaborative sessions was a clear brand positioning and purpose. Going back to our roots, focusing on farming, working to protect the Southwest farming community. Being bold about our dedicated professionally qualified, experienced, non-commissioned, local field, and member services advisors with the strap farming insurance experts.

This clarity around our strategic purpose niche market focus allows us to create campaigns that resonate with our target audience. So, how do we communicate with our audience? How do we try and get an emotional connection? The next few slides show examples of our creative execution. I’m hoping you’ll agree that these express a sense of a mutuality. These ads feature real life members and are local field advisors, the messaging, “Doing what’s right for you every day.” “We’re in it together,” demonstrate our key behavior, which is putting the membership at the heart of everything we do. Our website, our purpose being front and center on the homepage.

Shows images from the small handful of agricultural shows that we had last year. Again, our new branding in place, But, the creative execution of the brand is only a small part. We’re a relationship business, and truly put the membership at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make. Communicating our mutuality can be done through our creative. However, for Cornish Mutual, the communication of our mutuality is intangible, it’s through our behaviors. We are driven by our member chooses philosophy. No member is too small to see. We do not limit our call times. We find ways to pay claims rather than ways not to pay. And we genuinely care. This slide shows the outline customer journey and all the different touch points. It’s the combination of the different channels and touch points. The combination of the account based marketing campaigns with word of recommendations that make the difference, the tangible and the intangible expressing and communicating our mutuality.

This slide shows some outputs from some internal sessions we held looking at what makes us difference. We broke this down into the four elements of “Insurance,” “Community Value,” “Member Benefits” and “Loss Prevention.” So, insurance from a product perspective, we’re good, we’re market comparable, but we’re not different.

So, how can we add additional value? We’ve bought in member benefits, the best value in the market, and they give our members everyday savings on daily essentials, through to cars and holidays. The community value outside of our relationships with all the young farmer clubs across to the Southwest, and the charities that we support, we’ve been looking to create relevant, helpful, engaging content for our members. And then “Loss Prevention,” looking to develop prevention services and partnerships. And this is kind of like being a key differentiator for us in the move to prevention and is something that we’re looking at going forwards as well. Our purpose is overall working to protect the farming community. The agricultural sector is facing some of the biggest challenges it’s seen in generations. Working to protect the farming community of the future requires us to broaden our product and service offering, to meet the needs of the changing farming environment. Understanding our members’ needs, creating content guides, partnerships, and collaborations, standing alongside, supporting, and overall adding value to the membership, enforces our brand promise and our mutuality. In 2021, we launched our “Future Farming Programme.” This is an integrated communication and support program addressing the future challenges agriculture faces. It provides members with expert opinion, industry insight, and case studies, on key areas of that today’s farmers are facing, such as technology, environment, mindset, innovation.

Part of the program is a next generation group. This offers support, and personal development, and networking, to help build connections across the Southwest farming industry.

And our Young Farmer bursaries support the training and development of students entering into the agricultural industry. This is some of the press coverage the Future Farming Programme has received, really showing Cornish Mutual within and supportive of the farming community, and without the word “Insurance” being mentioned. This is a slide just showing our young farmer bursary award winners this year… Last year, sorry. Supporting the development of the farmers and as working really closely with the colleges and building those connections.

In line with our purpose, our developing strategy is to play a bigger role in building resilience among our membership. The challenges and opportunities for farming businesses continue to increase. We believe we can use our cooperative nature to help creating a pool of knowledge and services. We are building solutions, developing partnerships, and sign posting suppliers, that can demonstrate the potential to deliver positive outcomes. Helping members build resilience, increasing the stability of their businesses for future and current generations, and including our own. We’re moving to loss prevention, we’re creating health and safety guides, fire prevention guides, forming partnerships with [Hay Tech 00:12:49] who provide probes so farmers can measure the temperature, see the temperature of their hay in real time, and take action and preventative measures before things can go wrong. We are really clear on our strategy, and we have a differentiated proposition that responds to changes. We are driven by our purpose, grounded in relationships, enabled by technology and data, amplified marketing, and owned by us all at Cornish Mutual. Thank you. I will now hand back over to Gareth.

Gareth Kendrick:

Thank you, Juliet. That was a really inspiring presentation. Some of the themes, again, coming through very similar for all our members around prevention, and resilience, and the purpose driven organizations that obviously a lot of that’s going on, and we’re seeing that more and more, so thank you very much. Thank you. Next up. We have Adriaan Bester, who is General Manager Corporate Affairs marketing at AVBOB in South Africa. Adriaan, I’m now handing over to you.

Adriaan Bester:

Just had to unmute myself there. Thank you very much, Gareth, and good afternoon… It’s good afternoon with me. I’m not sure where all the members are around the world, but welcome to all of them anyway. Yes. Thank you very much for the opportunity as well. It really is an honor to be able to speak to people in our industry around the world. So, maybe just a quick kickoff around AVBOB, and maybe also even around South Africa, not everybody, I assume knows what the country is like, or what the local conditions are. But AVBOB started in 1918. It was originally a friendly society more or less. And then in 1921, they acquired a funeral business. So, before that, they basically paid out a fixed amount when a member passed away, or one in the family passed away, and that then went towards the funeral costs.

In 1921, they bought their own funeral parlor. And from then on, we basically tried to create a circular economy. So, how that works is that we have three divisions within AVBOB, the one being insurance. So, we trying to provide the funds, and we specialize in funeral insurance. That’s really all we do. We provide the funds for the funeral. We actually have a funeral service business with around 280 branches around South Africa. So, we provide funerals to our members, but also to the public at large. And then we have AVBOB industries, which is a manufacturing on, and they do all the funeral wear that is required within our funeral service business. So, we manufacture coffins, and caskets, and all sorts of things. So, that’s really what the business looks like. We have around 2.2 million policy holders at the moment. That represents some 5.7, 5.8 million lives insured, which is more or less 10% of the South African population.

We are the largest single player in our market, and we are on a continuous basis, obviously trying to expand that market share. So South Africa, very diverse country, nation. We have 11 official languages for one thing. We have many different cultures in the country. And those cultures also have very different funeral requirements, and they also have different insurance requirements. So, from our perspective, we like to try and see what is the common denominator. And everybody has a need for dignity, for compassion, for comfort in the time of death for somebody to come in and make the whole thing just as easy as it possibly can be. It’s a very difficult time, obviously. But for us, that delivery of service is the main thing that we do. We want to make sure that for our member, this is a very bad time in the life, but it is made as light as it possibly can. And by that way, our brand promises we’re here for you, and you will also see that we position ourselves as a family.

So, for us being a mutual means sharing value, and we really are a member owned community focused company. So, obviously we don’t have shareholders, because we are a mutual, I know mutuals are structured differently in different places. But with us, we are actually owned by the policy holders. So, every policy holder can, for instance, can vote and they’ve got a voting right, one vote for policy holders and so on. So, we really are owned by the policy holders. And over the years, we’ve struggled to decide exactly how do we channel value back to the policy holder. And for a very long time, it was simply done almost a dividend, although we can’t really declared a dividend, but it was almost done like a dividend in the sense that we declared special bonuses.

And that was added to the value of the policy. The problem with that turned out to be that we have, obviously because of the length of time that we’ve been in business, we have very old policies. So, somebody takes out a policy in 1950 and they have 500 Rands worth of cover. That’s about 10 Pounds worth of cover. And then they live another 30 or 40 years. And those policies in 1950 obviously were not inflation linked, so they didn’t grow with inflation. So, even with these profit declarations, our policy holders still ended up… People with old policies still ended up not having enough cover. So, our intent is to provide better value directly to our policy holders through free funeral benefits, where I’ll explain just now. And we’ve now started to declare these benefits instead of extraordinary bonuses.

It doesn’t necessarily directly add to the covered amount, but it does add to the value that they can get out of the policy. And then very important for us also, is you want to contribute to the society that we work in, society in general, but specifically the communities that we operate in. Do things that may not necessarily affect our policy holder directly, but will affect those communities. South Africa obviously is a developing nation. There are rural areas that are extremely poor. We believe that education is just one of the top things that we can possibly do to help stimulate the society as a whole. And a little bit later on we’ll run through some corporate social investment projects that we do that really tries us to address that.

We are in South Africa, almost singularly in our mutuality is not a lot of mutuals in South Africa. In fact, there’s only one other true mutual, and they don’t really play in our space, so we are basically unique as far as that is concerned. I mentioned a little bit earlier free funeral benefits. So, what we decided to do, and it started around 10, 12 years ago, we started to provide actual funeral wear instead of cover. So, we came to an agreement, because we have an internal funeral partner, AVBOB Funeral Service, we came to an agreement with funeral service, where we would pay a monthly capitation rate from the insurer to the funeral parlor. And then when our member needed the funeral service, they would provide specific free benefits. And originally it started with a free coffin, a free basic coffin.

It’s grown today to the point where we provide our client, and it’s all the insured lives, we provide them with a free base of 12 and a half thousand Rand. That’s what a basic funeral in South Africa will cost. They’ll have a small bit of external expenses for the grave, and maybe flowers, that sort of thing. But, the actual undertake is expense is the coffin and so on will be covered with that amount. We also provide free transportation. So in South Africa, again, that’s a very highly valued aspect. Many of our people that come from the rural areas, they to migrate to a city, or town, and work there, and obviously they pass away there. And then they want to be buried back where they come from, in their rural setting. And, typically someone might live in Cape Town, in the Western Cape. For those of you who know a little bit about South Africa, and they need to travel back to the Eastern Cape, Mthatha for example, and it’s about 1,000 kilometers.

At the current transportation rate, you’re looking at about 13 to 14,000 Rand just in transportation costs for that person. So, our policy holders get that for free. And we’ve also now added a two and a half thousand Rand basic amount that has actually paid out in advance. Even before we consider the claim itself, we pay that when the funeral is… Signed up with us, if you will, when it’s noted with the company. And the reason why we do that is, again, in our community, we find that people have very immediate expenses that they need to try and cover. For instance, family members who have to travel, again, over long distances to attend the funeral, they have to provide accommodation for those people, they have to provide food for them, and so on. So, these are the basic three funeral benefits, and you can now see, because it is fixed amounts. We grow these amounts on a yearly basis in respect to what their actual costs are. So, someone with a very old policy, with a very small amount of cover, will now after two years get the same free funeral benefits of someone that has the policy for only five years and may have actually a lot of cover. But, the funeral benefits that then allow us to provide a dignified service even to an old policy holder whose policy never been.

As I said, we one in a kind in Mzansi. Mzansi is a local language word for South Africa. And we are also the largest mutual on the continent.

AVBOBs mutual status gives us a strong financial basis to improve our policy holder benefits. And the number there is correct. So, it’s 2 billion, almost 2.7 billion Rand that was provided to policy holders in the past financial year. By the way, that’s our financial year, July to June. So, we provided our policy holders during that period with 2.7 billion Rands worth of free funeral benefits that was over and above the actual policy value or the covered amount that was obviously also paid out. So, all in all those numbers that I quoted to you earlier, it averages after about 17 and a half thousand Rand, because some people obviously get more transportation than others, it’s not an actual fixed amount for everybody. And then obviously the only provider is that you must do the funeral through our funeral service, because that’s where we buy the benefits. Although, our policy clients do have the option to take the money and use whatever provider they might prefer if they prefer somebody else.

Earlier I mentioned that we consider ourselves a family. So, we are a mutual and we definitely are also a family. And we like to tell everybody about it. We do it in multiple ways. I’ll show you a little bit later some of our actual advertising videos. So, mutuality we believe is our competitive advantage. We have other insurers in South Africa that are substantially larger than us, not specifically funeral insurance, but guys who do life insurance in general. And they also obviously do funeral insurance. But, our competitive advantage really is the fact that we are a mutual, and we try to keep all of our internal people updated through an in-house magazine. And obviously also in posters in our offices that is both client facing and staff facing. They’re not necessarily the same, because the messaging to staff and clients can be different at times. But, we try to make sure that message is carried over at every possible chance that we can.

And when we talk about the CSI initiatives a little bit later on, something that we found is that our staff love to get involved in these things. So, when we have specific corporate social investment activities, we try to get the staff there as well, because it’s just that good feeling. AVBOB is able to do these very nice things in their communities, and for our staff to be actually present and help doing whatever we doing. We do a Christmas party for a bunch of orphan kids that has never seen anything to this nature. We bring them to a nice hotel, and we buy some gifts, and we buy some stuff that they need in school, and so on. And our staff are there, and they help organize it, and they help handing over the gifts.

And it’s just a really nice impact on our own people as well. So, the concept of family is also using our external advertising. Although, it is deeply entrenched in our internal culture, we also want everybody out there, everybody who potentially becomes a member of the society, or is currently a member of this society, to understand that this is how we view them. We also do this right from the start of the recruitment process, so people can quickly understand, will they fit into this culture or not. It’s very important for us that they understand that everybody else here is part of our family, and we treat them as such. We don’t go around kissing everybody, but what we do is make very sure that everybody feels welcome, that everybody understands exactly what their part and their role is, and that everybody gets to share in the successes that is had.

The ad that I’m going to show you is we call it the “Mutual Ad.” So, this year we changed our advertising strategy a little bit. Previously, we used to make fairly long television commercials that were 90 seconds sometimes. And we also had multiple messaging within those advertisements. What we did this year is we changed it up, and we do these really short little ads, that each of which has only one real message in it. We’ve actually got eight different television commercials in the current campaign that will run for six months. And each of them, as I say, some of them speak towards a specific product, this one speaks towards we are a mutual and what that actually means if you’re a client customer.


Perhaps the most important thing you need to know about AVBOB is this. AVBOB is a mutual assurance society. This means they have no shareholders. AVBOB’s profits are shared with policyholders, their members, in the form of special bonuses and improved free funeral benefits from AVBOB Funeral Service. Mutual means shared value, win-win for all. Thank you for listening. It’s all on their website.

Adriaan Bester:

How do we bring this message home? Here we go. One of the flagship projects that we’ve started out in about seven years ago, is that we have many rural schools that don’t have any library facility, and they don’t actually have library facilities in the area where they live. So, it’s not like they can go to a community library or anything like that. And we started to place these container libraries at schools in rural areas. The slide store says we’ve done 56, we’ve now done 58. Originally when we did the first one, it was to be a once off. And then the Department of Education in South Africa actually contacted the company and said, “This is because we got some media exposure at the time.” And the department says, “This is a brilliant idea. Don’t you guys want to do more of them?”

And we said, “Yes, we also think it works very well.” And initially we said, we’ll do 10. And our CEO at the time was a gentleman by the name of Frik Rademan. And what Frik used to do is every two or three years, when we’ve reached the next goal, he would say, “Okay, we’ll do 10 more.” And that seems that program is going to keep on going. So, every library has about 3,000 books in it. It is set up with a little laptop that runs the library per se. The system and everything is on there, so people can actually book books out of the library. It is also fitted with solar panels, because in rural areas quite often electricity is a problem. They have some chairs and tables inside, because these libraries target… We only at the moment target primary schools.

That’s kids from about seven to 12, 13. So, everything is geared towards that specific population. Obviously, we distribute the libraries to all the schools in all the provinces in South Africa, we have an express goal to make sure that there are no areas where we do less, or that we skip. If you look at our little map there, you’ll see there’s a lot more in Gauteng than there is than Northern Cape, but it’s just because the population in the Northern Cape is quite small than the Gauteng is quite large. Okay. Another project that we are very proud of is that we started refurbishing schools. It’s a program that we do in conjunction with the Department of Education.

So, many years ago at expanding schools, and particularly also rural schools, the government used to put up asbestos classrooms. They were temporary classrooms. They were always meant to be there for a year or two, three, until the school can actually be expanded. And unfortunately it’s 50 years later and many of these schools still has these asbestos classrooms. They were not meant to be up there for that long, asbestos obviously is a very dangerous element, and we don’t want kids to be around asbestos. So, we’ve done a project that AVBOB contributed 150 million Rand to. The complete project was about 273 million Rand, the Department of Education contributing the other portion to it. And we went again to pick one school in every province, to refurbish that school and bring it up to a safe and acceptable standard. Some schools were relatively small projects, we only replaced the classrooms.

Some of them, we basically rebuilt the whole school. In some areas like Mpumalanga, for example, one of the provinces, the school that was picked was actually by coincidence also on the government’s list, and they decided to do the school by themselves. But, we have another problem in many of the schools that they don’t have safe ablution facilities, they still have pit toilets, and these things really are a danger. What we did is, instead of refurbishing one school in that province, we actually picked seven schools and we refurbished just the ablution facility to make those safe. The ablution facility project is actually called the SAFE Project in South Africa. It stands for Sanitation Appropriate For Schools. And we are also contributing to that. We are now, because we’ve created the skill within our own factory to build things in used shipping containers, we are starting to build ablution facilities in shipping containers. And obviously those are much quicker to roll out and they are safe to start off with, but they are also quick and easy to roll out. And they’re not necessarily temporarily structures. They can actually be out there for the next 30, or 40, or 50 years.

The last CSI project that I just liked to quickly discuss is our poetry project. A couple of years ago, one of our partners actually attended a funeral. And at the funeral, it was for a young boy and his grandfather wanted to say a couple of words, and he just couldn’t find the words, he just really didn’t know what to say. And it brought us to the conclusion in that there’s many of our people, in other words, funeral clients, that have this need, they have a need for words and they don’t have them. And at the same time around South Africa, we have thousands and thousands of poets, people with real words skills, and they need a channel to express themselves, they need a platform where they can make their poetry, and publish their poetry, and get acknowledgement for it.

So, what we did is we started a poetry competition around the country. We do it in all 11 languages. And people submit poems. And then some of those poems we actually accept and we publish them electronically. They’re available to anybody in South Africa, can go onto their website and actually read these poems, and you can use these poems in a funeral letter, or wherever you want. And then also we bring out a compendium of poems every year. And the first year we did it in was in 2018. So, there was 100 poems in that compendium. And then after that, every year we’ve added one poem. So, this year we will have 104 poems in the new compendium. Okay. The next TV advert that we are going to have a look at is specifically built around our social investment program. And it’s just a way of making people aware of all the different programs that we run.


Will my child be safe today? Will she find a place where she can be herself, just herself? And will she have the right words when she needs them to string together for her own simple joy? Will she be bold, and brave, and spirited enough for the journey ahead? Will she know she is loved gently with such tenderness? Will my child be safe today? And who am I, but a poet dreaming of a child and time.

Adriaan Bester:

Thank you for that. Obviously all of us around the world has been going through the COVID pandemic. courtesy room block, which means no contract and rooms are released without charge by a specified date if not required? This is just an example again, of what we are able to do because we are a mutual and because we don’t have to necessarily reward shareholders. We can use money. With COVID on the funeral side, obviously our people needed to start wearing much more PPE than they previously did. There’s a substantial cost to that. We never post that cost onto our families. We just absorbed that cost, because we can do that as a mutual. So, you can see there, again for that particular year, it was 5.7 million that didn’t pass onto our policyholders.

Then I think as a mutual, as a company in general, we have responsibilities in terms of good governance, and to society, and environmental stability in general. But I think as a mutual, because we have this very wide group of people that are our members, our family, that responsibility is just a little bit higher. So, we need to ensure that what we do is obviously not harmful for the environment, and the communities that we operate in, and that we operate socially responsibly, very important to us. So, a couple of things that we’ve done over the years, our head office is a fairly large building here in Pretoria. We have about 13,000 square meters, and about 820 people who work there. So, what we did is we drilled for water. We put in a borehole there so that we become a little bit less dependent on municipal water, because it can from time to time be a problem. We’ve installed photovoltaic solar systems, both in our head office and in our factory in Bloemfontein where we do the manufacturing.

On the head office side, we only generate about 7% of our electricity use. You can imagine that a tall, high rise, has little room for voltaic panels, but we try to get in as many as we could. In our factory, we actually can generate our full electricity usage. But, at the moment we only use about 80% we produce ourselves, and the other 20% we store by from the utility service. We’ve also, again at the factory, made sure that the vehicles that we use are as environmentally friendly as we possibly can, because we manufacture in a central environment… I’m sorry, I’ve over run my time by far. Because, we have a centralized manufacturing facility, obviously things are transported over fairly large distances, and we make sure that is done as environmentally friendly as we possibly can.

And then just in the last instance, it’s something that many of you may have heard of, particularly if you are in the funeral industry. Aquamation is a new way of performing cremations, it is water based and not flame based. It has only about 10% carbon footprint that flame based cremation will have. It’s a much gentler system we believe, and we’ve imported that, and we’ve implemented it in one site in Cape town at the moment. But, our Board has given us approval to implement 10 more of these systems around the country. They’re quite expensive, but we try to keep the cost more or less the same as a different funeral. We don’t want our client to decide based on cost, but rather based on what they think is good for them, good for the environment. And many of you may have heard quite recently when Archbishop Desmond Tutu passed away, he chose AVBOB, and this particular service, because he was through his life, an environmental warrior. And we were very happy and proud to provide that service to him. And that is all for me. Thank you, Gareth. My most sincere apologies for using more than my time.

Gareth Kendrick:

Thank you, Adriaan. That was an excellent presentation. And I think everything you’ve demonstrated definitely alleviated standing strong for your people, and the library elements that resonates really with me as a child growing up with books and being able to provide those is a really great initiative. That was an excellent presentation. Our final speaker now is Jackelyn Ballena, who is Vice President Operations Life at 1CISP in the Philippines. Jackelyn, it’s over to you.

Jackelyn Ballena:

Thank you so much Gareth. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening here from the Philippines. It is my pleasure to share with you today 1CISP means of communicating our mutual difference. Before I proceed, let me just give you a brief background about 1CISP just for better understanding of our structure and how we operate. One Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines, Life in General Insurance, or 1CISP is the first duly licensed cooperative in the Philippines. We are operating nationwide, with its main office in Metro Manila and branch and satellite offices across the Philippines. For 43 years, we have been providing only life insurance, but in 2018, we have provided non-life insurance products, making us a composite insurance. We are now offering both group life and group non-life products, and also some individual products.

1CISP members are cooperative of different types around the Philippines. It’s not individual members, but different types of cooperatives, like credit cooperatives, consumer cooperatives. So both type of cooperatives. Next on the screen, you’ll see 1CISP direction. Our vision is to insure 3 million Filipinos in 2025. Currently, we have more than 1.5 Filipinos insured under one C I S P1CISP. Our mission is to be a viable and socialized cooperative insurance service that protects and empowers Filipinos, especially those who have less in life. Which is actually the original mission of 1CISP to be able to provide insurance services to the low income sector. Our values is commitment to reliability, under promises over deliver, mutual prosperity, and excellent service.

This slide is specimen of how 1CISP over the years have grown. Last year 1CISP moved to its new building, from a two story floor building to six story floor building. In 2019, we had inaugurated our first fully operating branch. And this year 2022, we are looking forward to inaugurating two more fully operating branches.

Ending December 2021, we have paid 15,230 claims amounting through 611 millions Pesos, or roughly about 12.2 million U.S Dollars. For the non-life insurance, we have paid more than 9,000 claims amounting to 43 million Pesos, or roughly around 860,000 U.S Dollars. The claims that we have last year is actually almost doubled from the claims that we have received in 2020. Despite the pandemic, 1CISP had 119 new co-op members joining 1CISP ending December 2021. So, how are we different from other insurance providers in the Philippines, and how do we communicate our co-op mutual difference? First, on top of business reconsiderations in payment of claims, we really try to find means of paying our claims. We also provide range of activities to really communicate with our member cooperatives. We also have a number of initiatives and partnerships to help our member co-ops grow their business and enhance their officers, employees, members, capabilities, and skills. We want to have a prosperous cooperative Philippines.

In 2021, we have provided a number of in-house webinars for our member cooperatives. One of which is Technology And Transformation In The New Normal, a topic that is very timely and relevant as a result of the pandemic digital transformation it’s no longer an option, but it’s something that we must do for us to be able to survive. Also in 2021, we have partnered with a lot of cooperatives that specializes in providing capacity and capability training, providing wide range of topics like governance, leadership, management, entrepreneurship, and a lot more. 1CISP supported more than 70 trainings where in more than 1,000 individuals benefited. 1CISP paid for the registration piece for the training of each individual.

Aside from the capacitating our members through in-house trainings and through our partners, 1CISP also actively participates in talk activities internationally and locally. And if there are opportunities to share the programs with our member cooperatives, we do so through our social media pages. And in relation to the COVID 19 pandemic, as a response to end the fight against COVID 19, 1CISP actually sponsored a vaccination program in one of the islands in the Philippines. And among its it launched also a campaign providing pre vacation leaves so that they’d be able to get their vaccination, and monetary incentives as well.

So as you have seen, 1CISP does not focus only on insurance protection and financial literacy, but also in uplifting and supporting communities and its member cooperatives. This slide shows 1CISP participating in Brigada Eskwela program, a program which is done every start of the school year. So, we provide different tools or gadgets to schools to help either the teachers or the students in their schooling at the start of the school year. Also, the other photo shows providing hugs to an indigenous group. Every year we have different kinds of CSRs. Also, last year, Philippines was hit by Typhon again, which has an international name of Typhon Rai. And it really damaged a lot of the different provinces in the Visaen and Mindanao region. So aside from the payment of claims, fast settlement of claims, 1CISP also provided cash assistance to our member cooperatives whose building offices were duly affected.

As mentioned earlier, we ensured that we become with our member cooperatives. The pandemic did not hinder us from communicating with our member cooperatives. And one of which is conducting this InsureTalk. It’s a business forum that we did for the three island groups through the Zoom platform. So, there were 550 participants for the Luzon Island, 508 participants for the Visaen Island and 415 participants for the Mindanao Island. So, aside from this business forum, we have our once a year gathering, which is our annual general SMD. So in April 24th, 2021, we have our second virtual annual General Assembly, where in we have presented our financial condition and our operations for the year 2020. There were 82 cooperatives. There were 300 individual participants who have attended the 47th annual General Assembly. And through our Facebook live stream, there were 300 Zoom viewers, and 1,000 post engagements making this General Assembly a success.

And for this year 2022, we will be having our first hybrid event. It’s been more relaxed right now in terms of gathering, so we are able to do hybrid event. So, the General Assembly will be the venue to hear and discuss 1CISP’s financial condition as well as its 2021 operations performance. So, aside from various activities to communicate and support our member cooperatives, 1CISP currently have a number of initiatives and partnerships, wherein we know that our member cooperatives will really be. To help 1CISP improve the services and to help as well as our member cooperatives in coping with the new normal DigiCOOP was launched in 2020. So, this is a digital platform that we aim to revolutionize the way co cooperative serves its members. With DigiCOOP, 1CISP aims to unite the cooperatives in the Philippines in the digital revolution.

This slide shows the partnership made by 1CISP with TransUnion. Where in it it extended the solutions to under serve and under bank areas in the country. Another great initiative of 1CISP for its member cooperative is one cooperative insurance network. It’s a partnership between a cooperative and 1CISP that complement the cost existing financial services. So, 1KIN is actually powered by DigiCOOP. And why was 1KIN actually developed? So, this is a distribution channel created to be able to reach and ensure more Filipinos, given that only 25% of Filipinos are financially literate according to the 2014 standard and first reading survey. Plus the life insurance penetration rate is only 1,.26% as of end of 2018. So how does 1KIN works? 1CISP looks for partner cooperatives who wants to be a 1KIN partner. We provide the training and enhancement programs, as well as the preliminary marketing. And then from there, the part cooperative creates co-op microinsurance agents, and the partner co-op and the top microinsurance agent sells the products of 1CISP to its co-op members.

As of December, 2021, there are already 77 cooperatives who have actually signed for the partnership agreement, 69 have already identified a staff for the program, and 56 have completed the trainings to be able to operate as a 1KIN, 54 of them, or 70%, of those who have signed the partnership actually have produced production. And it has already contributed 5% from the total premium for our non-life. Another initiative of 1CISP is the 1KOOPMART. This is in partnership with the New City Commercial Corporation. The program was created to contribute to managing the distribution chain within the cooperative network. So, this was launched actually in 2019. And as of the moment, we already have opened six KOOPMART stores.

In this KOOPMART stores, the 1CISP as the brand owner is this sole insurance provider. Another big initiative of 1CISP is focused on providing solutions for women and cooperatives given that based on the study made more than 60% of membership and cooperatives in the Philippines are women. The program is named Koop4HER. So, the “Her” in 4HER stands form “H” is holistic learning, “E” is entrepreneurship, and “R” is risk management. This is the focus of the program for the Koop4HER. So, in August 24th, 2021, there was a webinar that was provided by this program, so it’s entitled by Bahay, Bahay, Paano Ka Ginawa.

It’s a fun webinar actually on risk mitigation at home. Last but not the least is the initiative on empowering young leaders. Through the Young Leaders program, 1CISP aims to help in ensuring succession planning among its member cooperatives. And last year we have provided four webinars. One focuses on mental health. The second webinar focused on future proofing the cooperatives. And we are very glad that it was raised by Miss Liz Green. And then the third one focuses on financial literacy. And the last one on how to stay relevant during the vuca world. It was well attended the four webinars. More than 100 attended for each webinar. I hope you were able to get some ideas on how to communicate their mutual co-op difference. Thank you very much.

Gareth Kendrick:

Thank you, Jackie. Thanks for that presentation. I think what you’ve just shown and shared with us there today truly differentiates you as an organization in the Filipino market. I hope everyone enjoyed that presentation too. We have just come up to the hour, so I think it might be best to end on that note. If we have any questions after the webinar, we could maybe share them with the presenters and get the answers to the questions.

I think, it just remains to thank our speakers today, to Jackie, to Adriaan, and to Juliet as well. We thank you very much for those presentations. I hope the members tuning in today have taken lots away, and we can share more information, as I said, in due course. So, thank you, and we’ll see you all again very soon. Thanks.


The above text has been produced by machine transcription from the webinar recording. ICMIF has made every effort to ensure that transcriptions are as accurate as possible, however, in some cases some text may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. Listening to or watching the webinar recording will allow you to hear the full text as delivered during the webinar but this is available in English only. Our transcriptions are provided to enable members to select the language of their choosing using the dropdown menu above.

More information

If you would like more information on the topic or case studies presented above, please contact us. We are here to make tailored introductions to your fellow ICMIF members and we can also share other member-only resources with you based on your specific challenges and interests.

Scroll to Top