Member news: The Co-operators announces support for mutual microinsurance strategy in India

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Co-operators (Canada) last week announced its contribution to the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation's (ICMIF) 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy, which will guide the development of mutual microinsurance programs in five emerging markets, reaching out to five million new households over a five-year period. The Co-operators, an ICMIF member, will provide USD $100,000 per year as well as significant technical assistance to help Uplift Mutuals bring health care insurance to two large cities in India, Mumbai and Pune.

Uplift Mutuals is an ICMIF member that seeks to support low-income Indian families through the provision of affordable health insurance and preventive health resources. With the financial and technical assistance from The Co-operators, a new mutual microinsurance product will be developed and introduced in Mumbai and Pune, where large low-income populations have very limited access to quality health care.

"The cooperative and mutual sector is committed to improving the lives of millions of low-income households in the developing world, and we are proud to contribute to this mission through our involvement in the 5-5-5 initiative," said Kathy Bardswick (pictured), president and CEO of The Co-operators. "Development of the mutual microinsurance market in the five countries identified will have an enormous impact on the health, wellness and financial security of a great number of individuals and families."

In addition to its financial contribution, The Co-operators will provide a range of in-kind staff support to help Uplift Mutuals provide health insurance coverage to uninsured low-income households in Mumbai and Pune.

Speaking on behalf of ICMIF, Sabbir Patel, Senior Vice-President – Emerging Markets, said “We are very grateful to The Co-operators for their commitment and support for the 5-5-5 Strategy and to the work of Uplift Mutuals in India. When we look at the 2.5 billion people currently uninsured we see the majority are in the low-income countries and in the most vulnerable communities such as those we are working with in India.  We see that the mutual concept is thriving in these communities, predominantly in an informal manner, and this is what we want to harness, formalize and scale up through the ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy.”

Patel went on to say: “The 5-5-5 Strategy will build on ICMIF’s fifty years’ experience in developing insurance solutions for underserved and excluded communities, it connects the resources and know-how of ICMIF members in the developed mutual insurance sector to the organizations with the drive, determination and local experience on the ground. With the help of The Co-operators and other such ICMIF members the 5-5-5 Strategy will help us to empower more people to take control of their lives and to have confidence in the future.”

The ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy is a first of its kind initiative where cooperative and mutual insurers can work together to promote mutual microinsurance in a sustainable manner to help communities who need it most. This is a member to member project and ICMIF members can support the 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy by providing:

  • Financial assistance: In the form of a grant, with an opportunity to provide year-on-year support.
  • Technical assistance: Members of staff can complete assignments (for a given duration that suits both employee and the member organization) to assist with initiatives such as board and staff training, operating systems development, policyholder/member education, marketing, product development, impact assessment and advocacy.

ICMIF would ideally like to have three to four member organizations supporting each project over the five year period of the Strategy, be it via technical assistance, financial assistance or both. The aim is to establish a long-term partnership between assistance providers and the assistance recipients.

ICMIF members can obtain information on how to support the 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy in more detail by contacting Tina Blain, Resource Mobilizer, ICMIF at or (+44) 161 929 5059