New video highlights benefits for ICMIF members of taking part in Technical Assistance assignments in developing markets

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Bas Lavalaye of Achmea, a Netherlands-based member of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), took part in a Technical Assistance assignment for the Development of Humane Action (DHAN) Foundation (India) through the ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy earlier this year. In a new video from the ICMIF Communications Team, Bas has spoken about his time in India and how he found it to be a particularly enriching experience.

Bas, a Finance and Control Manager, visited DHAN Foundation’s offices in Madurai (India) for two weeks in April 2018 to conduct the assignment. The purpose of Bas’s trip was to assess the first year of the 5-5-5 Strategy project with the DHAN Foundation and then use the findings to update the business plan for the remaining four years of the project.

The project with the DHAN Foundation under the 5-5-5 Strategy was launched in April 2017 and aims to cover an additional 1.07 million people from low-income communities with its mutual life, health and livestock products over five years.

In the video Bas explains: “The reason I signed up was because it was a chance to develop my qualities as a finance professional. I was also very involved with the concept of sharing my knowledge and experience… and it's not something we can do every day, help the poor of society. It's been really rewarding.”

During the assignment, Bas visited a self-help group federation called Karumbalai Vattaram, where he met with policyholders to see first-hand the work of the life and health mutual insurance programme run through DHAN Foundation. Before returning to the Netherlands, Bas presented his findings and recommendations at the annual review meeting of the project. A new business plan has now been agreed as a result of the assignment.

Gayathri Sakthirajan, Chief Executive of People Mutuals, the insurance arm of the DHAN Foundation, said: “Bas’s support has helped us greatly. He was able to give us a different perspective on financial matters and suggest financial control mechanisms that we can put in place at different levels to make our Federations which are providing mutual insurance programmes as sustainable as possible.”

Providing technical assistance to a mutual microinsurance provider is a very worthwhile way of supporting the 5-5-5 Strategy, both for the provider and recipient organisations. Members of staff from ICMIF member organisations can be seconded to participate in a wide variety of assignments. Some examples of possible Technical Assistance assignments include helping with creating operational plans, business plan review, marketing and sales, product development and MIS review.

Carla van Aalderen (HR Consultant and Senior Advisor, Achmea) said: “Achmea values these Technical Assistance assignments for our employees as a great learning opportunity. In our experience so far employees have been challenged to broaden their perspective, adapt to a different culture and deliver value in situations that are new and unknown to them. It enhances flexibility and adaptability and gives them greater insight in business demands in other countries. The experience is often an accelerator in personal development as well as an experience of a lifetime.”

The ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy is a five-year project based in five emerging markets (Colombia, India, Kenya, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka) which aims to provide five million previously uninsured households with insurance cover for the first time (equating to 25 million lives). The 5-5-5 Strategy will specifically assist with at least five of the United Nations 2020 Sustainable Development Goals, and is being directly supported by ICMIF member companies.

To find out more and discuss ways to support the DHAN Foundation project (either through financial or technical assistance), or a project in another of the five countries selected for the 5-5-5 Strategy, please contact Tina Blain, Resource Mobiliser at tina@icmif.org.

Watch the interview with Bas Lavalaye here.

Photo shows: Bas Lavalaye at the DHAN Foundation