Last date for submitting online proposal is 25th January 2011.
The Microinsurance Innovation Facility, launched in 2008 with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has issued a new call for proposals for its innovation grants programme.
This new round is focused on ‘scale and efficiency’ and is funded by the Z Zurich Foundation of Zurich Financial Services. Z Zurich Foundation is supporting the Microinsurance Innovation Facility with a contribution of CHF 3 million ( Rs 13 Crore approx) to facilitate the development of innovative approaches to provide better insurance coverage to more low-income people in a cost effective way. In this round, the Facility seeks to promote microinsurance projects that utilize technology and process innovations to increase operational efficiency to protect low-income households.
Microinsurance represents a key tool for sustainable development with tremendous potential for mitigating risk factors to low-income households. With estimates that less than 5% of the world’s poor benefit from insurance, these households remain highly susceptible to risks posed by a wide range of issues including sickness, loss of livestock and catastrophic climate events. On the one hand, a policy that offers value to the client requires that premiums remain low and benefits for policy holders as high as possible. On the other hand, insurers in this context need to reach large numbers of low-income clients to achieve profitability. To this end, creating economies of scale and promoting efficiency which can reduce administrative costs are critical issues.
Craig Churchill, Team Leader of the Microinsurance Innovation Facility, points to the necessity for “providers to reconsider how products are structured, marketed, delivered, accessed and documented. [Microinsurance] requires significant efficiencies through simple products, procedures and non-traditional delivery channels and perhaps through front and back office technologies.” Today, advances in technology are proceeding at an unprecedented pace, and recent months have heralded a new options ranging from hand held devices to manage claims to mobile banking and innovative premium payment methods that represent opportunities for achieving scale and efficiency.
Proposals must be submitted online no later than 25 January 2011. The Facility expects to issue three to five large grants of $100K to $500K as well as four or five small grants (less than $100K). Further information about current grantees and projects supported by the Microinsurance Innovation Facility can be found on the Facility’s website in addition to guidelines – (pdf 1,69 MB) for applying for the current round of grants.
The Z Zurich Foundation of Zurich Financial Services is funding this call for proposals. The Foundation’s mission is to equip people with the knowledge and resources to better manage change and risk in their lives and the world around them. Microinsurance is a valuable mechanism in helping marginalised and vulnerable segments of the population to better manage risks.
On a strategic level the Foundation develops long-term partnerships with selected Non-Profit Organizations, combining Zurich’s global experience and risk management capabilities with the Non-Profit Organizations’ local knowledge and sustainable development expertise. Current partners include UK-based Practical Action, US-based Rainforest Alliance, and the Swiss-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility was launched in 2008 with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since then, it has promoted over 40 projects through four rounds of innovation grants. Previous recipients of grants have included insurance companies, cooperatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other microinsurance providers. The Facility currently cooperates with a broad range of organizations that are actively testing new methods for providing low-income households with better insurance coverage. In a broader sense, the Facility plays an important role in aiding the ILO’s efforts towards fair globalization by protecting workers from the economic stresses arising from illness, catastrophic climate events and other unplanned situations.
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