Member news: Members of ICMIF Asia & Oceania organize study trip to visit Card MBA, Philippines

Friday, 23 September 2016

Thirty eight delegates from thirteen ICMIF member organizations have recently participated in a study trip at CARD MBA, the Philippines, another ICMIF member, organized by the Asia and Oceania Association of ICMIF (the AOA). The visit was held on the 2 and 3 August 2016 with delegates from Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the UK taking part.

CARD MBA (Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development Mutual Benefit Association) is the insurance arm of the CARD MRI (CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions). CARD MRI is a group of institutions with a common goal of becoming a world-class leader in microfinance and community-based social development undertakings that improve the quality of life of socially-and-economically challenged women and families in the Philippines. Through its fourteen institutions, it helps poor women and their families meet their financial and non-financial needs. The CARD group has been making efforts to reduce poverty in Philippines through microinsurance and microfinance for many years and was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award, known by many as the Asian version of Nobel Peace Prize, in 2008.

“CARD MBA has been a member of the Asia and Oceania Association since 2004; and to host this kind of effort is always a privilege,” said Dr Jaime Aristotle Alip, founder and Managing Director, adding that CARD MRI was delighted to offer the delegates the most hospitable welcome they could give.

Microinsurance perspectives

Study visits, meetings and seminars are among the regular activities of the AOA with the aim of advancing the cooperative insurance movement, improving links and friendship between members, and giving greater opportunities for interchanges and sharing of best practice among ICMIF members in the region.

“This year’s study tour allowed participants to learn more about microinsurance from a number of different perspectives,” said Mr Tamotsu Shozui, President of the board of directors of ICMIF member Zenkyoren, Japan, and Chair of the AOA, adding that one of the key benefits of the study tour was for delegates to hear from key players from the microinsurance industry and to hear their insights.

Ms Shayne Bulos, Acting Division Manager, of the Insurance Commission in the Philippines presented the policy and regulation for microinsurance in her country.

Ms Bulos informed the group that at least 31.1 million lives and properties were insured in 2014 compared to the 3.1 million and 19.8 million in 2010 and 2012, respectively. “Significant increase is also noticeable in terms of the products and services and participation of insurance entities in the country,” said Bulos, adding that the development of microinsurance in the Philippines is indeed overwhelming.

Moreover, the microinsurance model of CARD MRI, through CARD Mutual Benefit Association, was also in the limelight during the study visit.

CARD MBA pioneered the 1-3-5 Day Target in their claims settlement process. “This target ensures us to have efficient claims validation and settlement,” said May Dawat, General Manager, adding that it is also their aim to share their technology with other microfinance institutions and cooperatives who offer inclusive insurance cover in the Philippines.

The Executive Director of ICMIF member RIMANSI, Jun Jay Perez, gave a presentation highlighting the ways of promoting the mutual approach to microinsurance in Asia and the Pacific. “The mutual model is pro-poor… members own and govern the association,” said Perez.

ICMIF’s 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy

The study visit allowed the participants to hear more about ICMIF’s 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy and to enjoy a presentation by Sabbir Patel, Senior Vice-President, Emerging Markets, ICMIF, giving an update on the 5-5-5 Strategy.  Patel also took the opportunity to premiere the ICMIF Development video Mutual microinsurance: Building resilience in vulnerable communities which illustrates the aims of the 5-5-5 Strategy and highlights the work already being done by ICMIF members to help vulnerable communities.

ICMIF launched the 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy in January 2015 to help mutual microinsurance reach its full potential scale in a number of emerging markets and thereby having a positive impact on the lives of millions of low-income households. Over the course of five years, ICMIF plans to develop mutual microinsurance in five countries, reaching out to 5 million uninsured low-income households, which will equate to 25 million people in total.

The five countries (Colombia, India, Kenya, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka) were selected due to several factors including the fact that they are already doing prominent work in the field of mutual insurance, ICMIF member presence in that country and geographic reach.

The CARD MRI way

In its role as this year’s host, CARD MRI allowed the delegates to gain first-hand experience of its business model. Delegates were able to witness the weekly centre meetings that take place for CARD MRI members (policyholders) nationwide which, says Dr Alip, have helped to make the institution stronger. “Since the start, these weekly meetings have been our strategy of effectively building communities in the country,” Dr Alip said.

CARD MRI has more than 3.6 million members nationwide. All of these members attend weekly centre meetings. “It is not just a typical meeting; we actually developed a format for these centre meeting that is unique and appropriate for our clients,” said Dr Alip, adding that member policyholders can also serve as centre officers who lead the meetings.

The Credit with Education (CwE) program is the highlight of the centre meetings. “Through this program, CARD MRI clients are educated on topics including; health; business; CARD MRI’s products and services; microinsurance; disaster preparedness; and credit discipline,” said Dr Alip, adding that they don’t just help and advse their clients financially, but holistically as well.

“I am lucky to experience CARD MRI’s unique way of empowering the poor. The centre visits are just a perfect venue for CARD MRI and its clients to discuss various matters,” said Yusuke Hasumi, Assistant Manager, Corporate Planning Department, Zenkyoren, Japan, while lauding CARD MRI’s well-formed business model.

Cultural experience

“Hosting this international event here in the Philippines would not have been complete without delegates experiencing our unique culture,” said Dr Alip.

The AOA delegates were able to enjoy a tour program entitled “Hijos de San Pablo: Seven Lakes and Beyond Tour. The tour was established in 2012 by CARD MRI through its Community Development Group: “The tour program is in honour of San Pablo where the main office of CARD MRI is based and where the first CARD branch was established,” said Marilyn Manila, of CARD MRI, stating that the tour is CARD MRI’s way of celebrating the richness of San Pablo’s culture. “We are happy to welcome the AOA delegates to the tour. This is a good retreat after having a busy study visit,” said Manila. The delegates were able to visit San Pablo City’s Sampalok Lake, cathedral, plaza, and city hall.

The study visit was organized by CARD MBA and the AOA in partnership with the RIMANSI Organization for Asia and the Pacific and CARD MRI Development Institute. The location and host of the next study visit will be announced by AOA early in the New Year.

Picture shows (front row, from left to right): CARD MBA, General Manager, May Dawat; CARD MRI Founder and Managing Director, Dr Jaime Aristotle Alip; and AOA Chair and Zenkyoren President Tamotsu Shozui. Picture shown is courtesy of CARD MBA.

Information on the seminar was kindly shared by CARD MRI.