The DHAN Foundation now provides mutual microinsurance cover to over 300,000 people from disadvantaged communities in India

25 April 2019


Nearly 300,000 previously uninsured people from low-income and disadvantaged communities in India are now protected with a health or life microinsurance policy by ICMIF Indian member the DHAN Foundation.

This is a result of the DHAN Foundation’s project under the ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy (the “5-5-5”), which launched in April in 2017. Through its partnership with ICMIF, the DHAN Foundation aims to cover an additional 1 million lives with either a health, life or livestock mutual microinsurance policy over a period of five years.

Mr M P Vasimalai, Executive Director of the DHAN Foundation, said: “I am delighted with the progress of the collaboration between the DHAN Foundation and ICMIF. The DHAN Foundation brings thousands of families together through mutuality, and provides a unique niche for poor communities to address their vulnerabilities and risks.”

Since the start of the 5-5-5 project with the DHAN Foundation, 287,361 individuals in 18 districts of India have been covered with a life or health microinsurance policy. In addition to risk management, the DHAN Foundation also delivers risk mitigation initiatives to their policyholders. For example, in the first year of the project, 54,695 DHAN Foundation members received insurance literacy training. In the second year, over 1,000 community leaders were trained on financial management as financial education for women is a key mechanism for promoting gender equality by empowering women to be financially independent.

These achievements have been made possible through the Financial and Technical Assistance provided by 15 ICMIF member companies to the DHAN Foundation’s project through the 5-5-5.

The ICMIF member companies which have so far supported the project with the DHAN Foundation are: Achmea (the Netherlands), American Agricultural Insurance Company (USA), FMG (New Zealand), JCIF (Japan), LB Group (Denmark), San Cristobal (Argentina), Sancor Seguros (Argentina), Seguros Unimed (Brazil), UNMI (France), Thrivent Financial (USA), Tuw Tuw (Poland), UCMAF (Japan), Unipol Gruppo (Italy), UNIVE Dichtbij (The Netherlands), Zenkyoren (Japan) and Zenrosai (Japan).

Sabbir Patel, CEO, The ICMIF Foundation said: “We are really grateful for the support provided by ICMIF members for the first and second years of our project with the DHAN Foundation.”

Sabbir continued: “We are now due to enter the third year of the project, and will again seek support from a consortium of ICMIF members. The support received will help the DHAN Foundation towards achieving their target of providing cover to more low-income members of the Indian population by; enabling improvements to be made to the organisation’s infrastructure and IT systems; training staff; creating new communications materials on the benefits of mutual microinsurance for potential and existing policyholders; and conducting a second series of insurance literacy training sessions for policyholders.”

The progress of the project thus far was discussed at the second annual review meeting for the project. The meeting took place during week commencing 4 March 2019 at DHAN Foundation’s offices in Madurai and was attended by key stakeholders in the project including Ms Ahila Devi, who was recently appointed CEO of People Mutuals, the insurance arm of the DHAN Foundation.

Dennis de Haan, a Business and Financial Control Manager, of ICMIF member company Achmea (the Netherlands), also attended the annual review meeting as part of a Technical Assistance assignment for the ICMIF Foundation. The purpose of Dennis’s assignment was to review the DHAN Foundation’s operations and business plan.

Technical Assistance projects with the 5-5-5 Strategy mean that ICMIF members can develop their staff in a completely unique way through them completing an assignment in one of the project countries (for a given duration that suits the employee and the member organisation) and assist with initiatives such as board and staff training, operating systems development, marketing, product development and impact assessment. Read more about previous Technical Assistance assignments for the 5-5-5 carried out by employees of ICMIF member companies.

Hear from a DHAN Foundation policyholder

DHAN Foundation policyholder Mr Paramasivam has lived in Pudhur an urban area in Madurai, Tamil Nadu (southern India), for many years; he works in a cycle repair shop and has a family to support. He recently fell ill and was hospitalised for three nights. Normally payment would be required in advance of treatment and this prevents many uninsured, low-income people in India from seeking medical help as they do not have the funds to cover treatment. Mr Paramasivam, however, was able to use his health insurance cover from the DHAN Foundation to obtain the treatment he needed to get well.

Mr Paramasivam says: “Had I been to any other hospital, I would have had to pay for my treatment in advance. With no money in hand, I would have approached a money lender to get the money. Having insurance has helped me in my time of need.”

Hear more from Mr Paramasivam in our video on the benefits for him and his family of the mutual microinsurance cover he has which have come about thanks to the support given by ICMIF members to the 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy.

About the DHAN Foundation

The DHAN Foundation was formed in 1997, with the aim of reducing poverty in marginalised communities. The DHAN Foundation works on the principle of empowering communities at the grassroots level. Risk management is one of its key interventions for ensuring sustainable livelihoods. The DHAN Foundation has developed a successful holistic model of community-based mutual insurance to manage life, health, livestock and crop risks.

About the ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy

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 will specifically assist with at least five of the United Nations 2020 Sustainable Development Goals. The governance of the 5-5-5 is overseen by The ICMIF Foundation, a registered charity in England and Wales.

The 5-5-5 is supported by other ICMIF member companies and like-minded organisations in more developed markets, either through Financial or Technical Assistance projects.

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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