Last year, CAMIC, a Canadian ICMIF member and association of mutual insurers in Canada, launched an appeal to its members to ask them to support Indian ICMIF member and ICMIF Foundation project partner the DHAN Foundation in its work supporting local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAMIC members that have pledged their support to the DHAN Foundation through the appeal include Co-operators, Dufferin Mutual, Farm Mutual Re, Halwell Mutual, PEI Mutual, Portage Mutual, Saskatchewan Mutual Insurance, Stanley Mutual, Trillium Mutual and Wawanesa. Total funds raised from these companies have reached approximately CAD 305,384 (USD 235,016).
In January 2022, the ICMIF Foundation brought the DHAN Foundation and CAMIC donors together for the first time in a virtual roundtable to discuss the impact that CAMIC donations are having at the grass roots level for DHAN policyholders, and the sustainability of the project.
The DHAN Foundation’s philosophy is giving back to society. The vision is to create a “poverty free, value based, equitable, ecologically sensitive and peaceful society in all contexts.” Mutual microinsurance addresses the market failure to provide access to insurance services for the excluded poor. By risk financing and absorbing financial shocks due to loss of life, assets, and health-related issues, they help prevent people relapsing into poverty.
Working predominantly with poor women; small and marginal farmers; agricultural labourers; and migrant workers, the DHAN Foundation has reached over 2.4 million individuals in 14 states across India. During the 2020-2021 period, 15,795 member families have self-declared that they have moved out of poverty. With the support of The ICMIF Foundation’s 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy project, the DHAN Foundation has so far supplied 676,505 microinsurance policies and paid out USD 275,340 of claims.
The DHAN Foundation not only provides access to insurance, but also enables insurance literacy. This is done through hosting training programmes for community leaders on mutual insurance programmes; risk prevention; and risk reduction and mitigation. Given the lack of trust around insurance among the low-income communities in India, the DHAN Foundation also seeks to change the perception of insurance through its work.
The sustainability of the DHAN Foundation project is critical. One of the biggest challenges when trying to scale up a mutual microinsurance programme is maintaining the mutuality at the local level. Crucially, as the DHAN Foundation is community-driven and small community groups run the federation mutuals, they can keep mutuality working in terms of insurance product provision.
The DHAN Foundation’s long-term goals are to scale up their microinsurance offering to new geographical areas; to diversify and offer more products, such as livestock insurance; and to expand their digital offering. They also have plans to create a resource centre for mutual insurance programmes in India and advocate for appropriate differentiated regulations for the mutual insurance market.
Speaking of the need for mutual microinsurance in emerging markets and ways in which supporting the work of The ICMIF Foundation can help to drive donors’ strategic objectives, Sabbir Patel, CEO and Managing Director of The ICMIF Foundation said: “Following the pandemic, which has severely impacted low-income communities, the potential for mutual microinsurance is huge. The current mutual market share in emerging markets is 4%, compared to over 30% in developed markets. The ICMIF Foundation believes that when communities drive what they are doing, as we see them do with the help of the DHAN Foundation, they have the best chance of making a long-term impact, in a scalable and sustainable way. We aim to provide ownership and relevance for our donors, identifying areas of cooperation which can support their own business challenges and objectives.”
Sangita Kamblé, CAMIC’s President and CEO stated: “This initiative has highlighted the need to support a cause of great need outside local, provincial, and national borders by recognising that mutuality is a global concept, especially through the global pandemic. CAMIC members have grouped together to positively impact the low-income communities in need in India by providing the ability to offer microinsurance.”
To date, 33 mutuals and cooperatives have supported The ICMIF’s Foundation’s first programme, the 5-5-5 Strategy, through both financial and technical support, allowing them to reach over 2.2 million policyholders, at a funding cost of under USD 1 per policy.
ICMIF members wishing to donate to The ICMIF Foundation and thereby help the DHAN Foundation should contact Tina Blain, Resource Mobiliser, ICMIF Foundation.
CAMIC members wishing to donate to the DHAN Foundation appeal should contact Sangita Kamblé.
The DHAN Foundation spoke about the work supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in an ICMIF webinar earlier this year entitled Impacting the Sustainable Development Goals through mutual microinsurance. A recording of the webinar is available to ICMIF members.