Zurich announces strategic Microinsurance collaboration with Women’s World Banking

Zurich announces strategic Microinsurance collaboration with Women’s World Banking

Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) today announced an agreement with New York based Women’s World Banking (WWB) to establish a strategic collaboration in the area of microinsurance.

Only a small percentage of the low-income population in the hundred poorest countries has access to insurance services of any form, and even fewer have access during a health event. That is why Zurich and WWB will pilot and then roll out “Caregiver” products, insurance-based solutions providing predefined benefits to clients of WWB affiliate institutions during hospitalization events.

WWB is a global network of 54 microfinance providers and banks, working in 30 countries and serving 11 million micro-entrepreneurs directly, and another 10 million indirectly through bank partners and others. Zurich and WWB aim to establish a consistent global program which helps the primary caregiver in a low-income family.

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of WWB, says: “Insurance is a relatively new area in addressing poverty and this program with Zurich holds a lot of promise, especially for women. Women, more often than not, are the family’s primary caregiver. During a health event, there’s more than just medical expenses – lost wages, childcare, even transportation to and from the hospital – all add pressure on that household during a tough time. The Caregiver program is designed to address just that issue.”

Brandon Mathews, Zurich’s Head of Microinsurance, says: “WWB’s 30 year history of microfinance innovation and its deep customer knowledge perfectly combine with Zurich’s risk management expertise. Planning for adverse events – saving rather than investing in their businesses – may put women at a further disadvantage. Insurance is what is used to plan for such events. If we can unlock more entrepreneurial investment by low-income women while protecting them and their families against some of life’s risks, we’ll see a multiplier effect that’ll make a difference.”

The collaboration with WWB marks another major milestone on Zurich’s route to address the significant unmet need for insurance among disadvantaged populations, especially in emerging markets. Zurich commits to this collaboration within its Group-wide Microinsurance Practice that combines the core skills and sophistication of insurance and risk management with new learning, research and innovation in order to serve low-income populations appropriately and expediently. WWB and Zurich are supported in scoping and designing this collaboration by the MicroInsurance Centre LLC, a consultancy and research group focused on developing inclusive and sustainable insurance programs.

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