Jamaica will be the host country for the International Conference on Inclusive Insurance, ICII 2022, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston from October 24 to 28. The Insurance Association of Jamaica is hosting the talks, in association with the Germany-based Munich Re Foundation and the United Kingdom-headquartered Microinsurance Network.
The hybrid conference is expected to attract 400 delegates from over 50 countries.
Inclusive insurance, as defined by the Institute of International Finance and the Center for Financial Inclusion/Accion, is “access to and use of appropriate and affordable insurance products for the unserved and underserved, with particular emphasis on vulnerable and low-income populations … through new business models, technologies, product design, and partnerships”.
The conference, according to a press statement, will provide opportunities for participants to present and discuss issues, policies, and state-of-the-art solutions for efficient, sustainable, and inclusive insurance products and promote the development and production of good-value insurance for emerging economies. It also aims to enhance awareness of the demand for insurance in the low-income segment and examine its potential.
The meeting is being held in the aftermath of catastrophic weather events in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba, the United States of America, and Pakistan. Many lives have been lost, the livelihoods of thousands of persons have been disrupted, and billions of dollars of property, infrastructure, and income losses have occurred because of these occurrences. This succession of catastrophes took place in 2022 when the global economy was slowly emerging from the effects of a once-in-a-century global pandemic in which 6.5 million persons were estimated to have died.
IAJ President Sharon Donaldson stated that it is the first time in 20 years that the conference is being held in the Caribbean and that Jamaica is extremely proud to be the host country. She also said that “many low-income groups are often unaware of steps they can take to protect themselves financially. The insurance industry has a critical role to play to provide innovative insurance and financial products and education geared to these groups”.
Dirk Reinhard, vice-chair of the Munich Re Foundation and chairman of the steering committee of ICII 2022, said that risk management including insurance plays a key role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals. “Recent floods, droughts, and wildfires have shown that climate change threatens the livelihood of billions of people that do not have access to affordable safety nets. Small island states are particularly vulnerable.”
Munich Re has been managing global risks since 1880. Today, it possesses the expertise and knowledge in all fields of competence connected with the subject of risk. The Foundation’s work, according to its website, addresses major global challenges – the fight against poverty, environmental and climate change, water as a resource and risk factor, demographic development, and disaster prevention – and supports people in risk situations.
“Insurance has the potential to make a significant and enduring contribution to public policy goals and to closing the global people protection gap,” argues Katharine Pulvermacher, executive director of the Microinsurance Network. “Only a tiny fraction of emerging customers and small-scale producers around the world have insurance of any kind even for smaller, more frequent risks that can have a devastating effect on their economic well-being. This presents a clear opportunity for the insurance sector.”
This column has sought to elevate the discussion about risks – especially during the last 12 months – beyond the confines of motor insurance, delays in the settlement of claims, and regulation of the insurance industry to broader issues of mitigating risks. Last week’s piece, ‘Protecting Jamrock from Damage and Destruction’, was an example.
The change in focus is consistent with the ideas that were expressed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in his June 2018 statement to the Outreach Session of the G7 Summit in Quebec, Canada: “Building resilience is not optional; it is imperative for our survival. Creative and innovative solutions must be found to design appropriate risk mitigation, risk transfer, and risk-financing tools while ensuring wide participation in solutions.”
The ministers of finance and health, Dr Nigel Clarke and Dr Christopher Tufton, respectively, understand the message. Non-government actors like the former head of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and registered architect, conservationist and advocate for the built natural environment Dr Patricia Green are part of the public conversation.
The conference offers an excellent opportunity for local and regional policymakers, insurance practitioners, regulators, businesspersons, lawyers, development partners, multilateral agencies, technology companies, members of academia, and other policy experts to gain a better understanding of the changes that are taking place in the risk- transfer industry and the role that they can play in promoting resilience.