Greenwing Micro Insurance (GMI) chief operations officer Yamikani Malonje to give more details on the company’s services that are targeting the marginalised low income earners.
What it the background of Greenwing Micro Insurance?
Greenwing Micro Insurance (GMI) is an indigenous Malawian company incorporated as a provider of micro insurance services. GMI is licensed by Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM). It is located in City Centre Lilongwe at Golden Peacock Mall. Currently, GMI services its clients through 40 branches co-located in post offices throughout Malawi. GMI underwrites the insurance risk relating to the micro insurance products and administers the supply and administration chains.
What range of products and services are you currently rolling out?
Our strategic message is bwenzi as we are friendly, and we are coming in to offer cheap and affordable risk solutions to the low income livelihoods.These risk solutions that we are offering include Bwenzi Group Health Insurance with minimum monthly premium instalment of K800 per individual and K500 per child.
We also have Bwenzi Group Loan Protection which is a comprehensive cover to financial institutions lending loans to the Micro economic sector (SMEs) and we pay the outstanding loan to the lending institutions in cases of debtor exiting business operation due to fire, floods, death and disability due to accidents.
Among other products, we are rolling out are Funeral and Weather index crop insurance to contracted farmers.
What capacity do you have to cater for fire-prone markets which major players are avoiding?
As professionals in the risk market, we first evaluate the risk aggregation per location (market) to map out the possible maximum losses we may incur and deal with that by appropriate technical underwriting control measures and loss accumulation limits.
We have teamed up with global risk partners who have vast experience in covering micro fire insurances in economies such as India and Columbia where micro insurance market penetration rate is at apex. We are also tapping their risk management expertise in supplement to our experienced and qualified technical team. We invite all micro lending institutions to confidently test our ‘Bwenzi’ loan protection product and smoothly grow their lending books.
How is GMI from other other fully-established insurance firms?
Our company is very unique since we are championing penetration into the informal market sector whilst the fully established companies are serving the formal sector or blue colour economic sector. Informal sector is where the base of Malawi agro based economy emanates from comprising 80 percent of our population.
We are strategising to utilise the availability of mobile money technology to proximate our products to the most remote rural masses.GMI products are affordable and we rely on large numbers or economies of scale and technological distribution, that’s how unique GMI is
In Malawi, insurance penetration is quite low and the figure is decimal as only few Malawians have access to insurance products. How do you intend to bridge the gap?
Scalability of our products through Technology and Mobile money premium payments and claim settlement would be the only GMI strategy to increase insurance consumption in Malawi.
Our Bwenzi micro products would have a premium payback incentives to the clients over a period if claims were not made, this would be a win-win situation for the client’s on the same time attracting more consumption hence high penetration rate and reduction of fundamental public mistrust to insurance.
So, how many Malawians are you targeting?
We are aiming to introduce the segregated 88 percent of Malawi population into the financial systems and create a taxable platform for the government which has not been there before, and so, basically we are here to change the financial mindset of the low income Malawian.
We have a special long-term premium pay back value added service to our clients and partners simply to eradicate the pro longed public fundamental mistrust about insurance.
In summary, what is your target market?
Statistically, we are reaching out to thousands by a matter of sampling. In a nutshell, we are targeting clustered or aggregated groups like Village Savings and Loans Associations with the risk of saving loan abscondment and death, Kabaza associations, farmers associations, Micro Finance Institutions for the risks of death, Village banks, contracted farmers, Cooperatives and Saccos.
With the current hiking of Health Insurance by major players how stable are you in footing the claims?
Claims settlement is the core distinguishing attribute with the other players and ‘Bwenzi’ entails living by such values. GMI recognises that prompt settlement enhances customer experience.
As we are targeting low income people, we have correspondingly negotiated service contracts with affordable Health Service Providers like Banja La Mtsogolo, Cham [ Christian Health Association of Malawi]hospitals and private wings of government major hospitals. This is also a prompt response to the provisional pending government proposal of introducing minimal fees to the government hospitals.
Listening to your tone, should we say you are not scared of competition on the market?
Well! In any business sector competition is good because it is an advantage to the customers since it brings in the element of quality service and innovative product development. Monopolised markets are to the disadvantage of customers.
GMI business model is to partner with other service providers such as community savings and loans association for the distribution of the products. As a local Malawian company we are best placed to understand the micro insurance market.
As a pioneer of the micro insurance in Malawi, what proposals are you putting forward to policy makers?
We would expect the regulator to create a possible atmosphere for micro insurers for swift scalability of micro products in Malawi to allow growth on Malawi insurance penetration rate which has always been low due to lack of financial inclusion of low income livelihoods into the financial systems.
Government would only speed up introduction of national identities for easy identification and tracking of absconded debtors, fraud controls in health insurance at hospitals.
Any challenges that you are facing out there?
The major challenges are fundamental public mistrust towards insurance providers as well as low illiteracy levels. Basically, we have no national identification system systems in Malawi and one to one selling of micro insurance is proved to be administratively expensive and we are utilising our wide distribution network housed in all major post offices in Malawi.