Access to Insurance/Microfinance Working Party

The Actuaries Institute established the Access to Insurance/Microinsurance working party in 2012, to focus the energies of Australian actuaries with an interest in addressing barriers which low‑income, indigenous and other financially excluded groups face in gaining access to appropriate insurance products which meet their needs. Research in Australia by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Centre for Social Impact has clearly identified both a need for insurance products amongst those who are ‘financially excluded’ as well as under insurance across the sector. Barriers include affordability, limited flexibility in premium payments, poor understanding of insurance among the general public, limited desire to purchase insurance cover for modest assets and a shortage of products providing low levels of cover.

The Access to Insurance/Microfinance Working Party focuses the energies of Australian actuaries with an interest in addressing barriers with low‑income, indigenous and other financially excluded groups face in gaining access to appropriate insurance products which meet their needs.

The working party is currently focusing on four key areas in order to progress the issue:

  • Facilitate the development of low‑cost tenants insurance in Australia, drawing on experience from the UK and Canada in introducing similar products.
  • Act as a knowledge resource for indigenous groups. Our current focus is funeral insurance, which has been identified by several indigenous organisations as a 'need', but the products currently sold to indigenous groups may not be the best option to meet that need.
  • Develop a Microinsurance 'hub' for interested Australian actuaries via the Actuaries Institute's website.
  • Act as a knowledge resource for microfinance providers in Australia.

Australian Organisations

Potential Opportunities

Good Return connects Australians to the working poor in the Asia Pacific who need a small loan to start or expand a small business, grow their income, and lift themselves out of poverty.

Good Shepherd Microfinance deliver loans with low and no interest to people on low incomes through accredited partners from over 650 locations across Australia.

Opportunity International Australia runs microfinance and community development programs.

Brotherhood of St Laurence undertake research, service development and delivery, and advocacy, with the objective of addressing unmet needs and translating our learning into new policies, programs and practices for implementation by government and others. They have published a few research papers on the issue of financial exclusion in Australia.

Australian Council for International Development is the peak Council for Australian not‑for‑profit aid and development organisations working to attain a world where gross inequality and extreme poverty are eradicated. It has a page of listed opportunities by many organisations in Australia.

CUFA is a credit union offering micro‑financial services to developing communities in South East Asia. CUFA's purpose is to fill the need for financial services (for saving and access to affordable credit) in rural and remote communities.

International Organisations

Potential Opportunities

FINCA operates a Village Banking microfinance program that provides poverty solutions through small business loans.

Grameen Foundation helps the world's poorest – especially women – improve their lives and escape poverty by providing them with access to appropriate financial services, life‑changing information and unique income‑generating opportunities.

Kiva is a non‑profit organisation with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

Actuaries Without Borders is a section of the International Actuarial Association, and it seeks to make actuarial services available to deserving groups on a temporary basis through volunteer efforts of its members. Volunteer opportunities are available from time to time.

The Microfinance Gateway is an online resource for the global community dedicated to advancing access to financial services for the poor. The Gateway features a comprehensive library of research and publications, original articles and resource centres on trends and important industry developments, plus the latest announcements, news, events, trainings, and job opportunities related to microfinance and broader financial inclusion topics.

MicroRate was the first microfinance rating agency dedicated to evaluating performance and risk in microfinance institutions (MFIs), as well as evaluating microfinance funds, also known as microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs). As the oldest and most well‑respected organization of its kind, MicroRate’s primary goal is to promote growth in the microfinance industry by facilitating the efficient flow of money from capital markets to MFIs through independent evaluation and increased transparency.

Other International Organisations

Microcredit Summit Campaign brings together microfinance practitioners and advocates to promote best practices, stimulate the interchanging of knowledge and to work towards reaching their goals. In 2006, the Microcredit Summit launched a nine-year campaign to reach 175 million of the world’s poorest families with credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by 2015, and that 100 million families rise above the US$1.25 a day threshold adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), between 1990 and 2015.

International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations. A Social Finance Programme forms part of their strategy to promote employment in constituent countries by providing services to ILO constituents in the following four areas: integrating financial and social policies, creating a conducive environment for investment and employment, reducing the vulnerability of the poor, and strengthening the capacity of the social partners to inform, advise and help their constituents. The ILO also conducts research into microfinance‑related issues.

Access to Insurance Initiative is a global partnership with the mission to inspire and support supervisors to promote inclusive and responsible insurance, thereby reducing vulnerability. The Initiative is the implementation partner of the Global Standard Setting Body for insurance, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) on access to insurance.

Micro Insurance Network promotes the development and delivery of effective insurance services for low‑income people by encouraging shared learning, facilitating knowledge generation and dissemination, and providing a multi‑stakeholder platform.

Keynote and Plenary Speakers