November is showing promising results for RBAP. First, more than 400 Rural Bankers attended its anniversary symposium at the historic Manila Hotel; second, representatives of the association, for the first time, successfully joined an international gathering promoting microinsurance (MI) in developing and emerging markets. Supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ms. Ruth Aseron of RBAPMABS-USAID and Ms. Ghay Mapano of RBAP-RBRDFI were invited to participate at the recently concluded 7th International Conference on Microinsurance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from November 8 to 10. With experts from around the world, the two shared their know-how and, conveyed the contribution and achievements of Philippine-based microinsurance promoters.
One of the many poignant points echoed by both Ms. Aseron and Mapano during the head-ups meeting among RBAP-RBRDFI-MABS-USAID directors and staff upon their return from Brazil were the breakthroughs initiated in the country that are now being recognized worldwide. Many may not be aware, but the Philippines has been trailblazing in this niche industry especially when it comes to offering advance and innovative microinsurance products. As narrated by Ms. Mapano, the success can be attributed to three factors: efficient communication, effective capacity building and active promotion with partners.
Aside from the plethora of microinsurance products and services, a regulatory framework protecting the industry is now firmly in place; other countries have yet to adopt or replicate this.
So far, the rural banking industry in the Philippines continues to make headway in providing microisurance services. At the moment 52 RBs, trained by RBAP-RBRDFI Microinsurance Initiative, are offering MI products; a few more are engaged in exploratory talks. The advantages of rural banks are plentiful; for one thing, RBs have the ability to capitalize on existing operational structure; two, compliance to both insurance and bank regulations increases the banks’ credibility; and third, clients of RBs have better access to relevant financial products.
Of course, while microinsurance is on the upswing, still challenges remain; insufficient adoption of technology is one, tapping popular usage of mobile technology is second. Fortunately, RBAPMAPBS-USAID is trying to address this issue with its mobile access programme (http://www.rbapmabs.org/home/)
For more details on what transpired during the Microinsurance Conference, you may view RBAP’s Slideshare’s link below: