The latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence have taken the world by storm with its numerous applications. Presently, using these technologies has become essential for almost every industry vertical. Micro Insurance Company (MIC) such a company that is leveraging the latest technologies to deliver best-in-class products. “With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, we can now take advantage of this technology to dramatically improve the value for customers through communication and interaction to acquire, retain, and serve customers with our insurance products,” said Richard Leftley, the EVP International at Micro Insurance Company. MIC was formed recently following the merger of several companies including MicroEnsure, which Richard founded.
Serving the Mass Markets
MIC primarily operates in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. In these markets, consumers face the highest levels of risk and have the least access to insurance. The company creates innovative solutions to meet this untapped demand and expand insurance protection on an unprecedented scale. Moreover, Being a Fin-Tech business in the insurance market over the past 15 years, MIC has overseen the transition from feature phones to smartphones and the use of mobile money from airtime as a currency to mobile wallets and In-App payments. The company has utilized all these advancements to distribute insurance products to mass markets through communication providers and partners.
Esteemed Partners and Investors
MIC works closely with selected third parties such as telecom companies, banks, and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to make sure that as many customers as possible have access to its insurance products. It works with telecom partners namely—Airtel, Telenor, Grameenphone, TNM, Easypaisa, etc. to ensure the best communication and a wider reach. Moreover, it partners with insurance companies such as AXA, Shriram Life Insurance, Enterprise Group, Sanlam, Cornerstone, Jubilee Insurance, UT Life Insurance, Old Mutual, etc.
Alongside this, the company has tie-ups with several banking partners such as Barclays, Opportunity International, Finca, Advans, and Khushhali Microfinance Bank. With these renowned partners, MIC strives to provide unrivaled services to the customers. “The capacity and skill that our strategic investors bring to MIC are critical in helping us to reach millions of low and middle-income families across the globe,” asserts Richard.
A Diligent and Visionary Leader
Being here at the start of the microinsurance movement, Richard has been instrumental in growing MIC from serving a few thousand people within emerging markets, to over 55 million people across 16 countries in Africa and Asia. He started his journey in microinsurance in 2002 with Opportunity International, a leading microfinance provider, where he worked as a reinsurance broker.
While working there, he pioneered the introduction of insurance products within the Opportunity Network which led to the establishment of MIC. Besides this, Richard has also served on the steering committee of the ILO ‘Micro Insurance Innovation Fund’– a $35 million fund provided by the Gates Foundation. He is also a former member of the Micro Insurance Network Board and a serving non-exec board member of the Micro-Bit Foundation. He is leveraging all this experience in taking the company forward particularly in tricky situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unparalleled Service through the Crisis
The disruptions due to the pandemic have brought several challenges as well as opportunities for the insurance industry. On one hand, due to the restrictions such to operate freely and a reduction in business demand, the livelihoods of many of MIC’s customers were impacted. Meanwhile, the need for insurance products to cover health, hospital costs, and in some cases fatal outcomes have increased the demand for affordable insurance to low-income customers that MIC serves.
MIC’s products, however, were already inclusive for the pandemic cover which was advantageous to its clients. Additionally, in the wake of the pandemic, the company developed specific COVID-19 insurance products to cover costs incurred for hospital admittance and also in cases of casualty, payouts to families to soften the economic hardships that can emerge. Particularly in under-developed countries such as Ghana, MIC is providing free insurance for small businesses to have protection over the commercial assets as they get back to operating again. “We are also offering free insurance through a mobile company to all of their customers for health and life insurance, which will be a great comfort while COVID-19 remains in our communities,” added Richard.
Elevating Communication and Culture of Ownership
In these difficult times, the culture of a company plays an important role in its growth. MIC operates with a culture of empowerment and ownership, making each employee responsible for their role at all levels in business, knowing they make a valued contribution to the customers that are in need of financial protection. The team works together through challenges to ensure every employee is a part of the success of the business.
Furthermore, as MIC is a global organization that spans continents and timezones, ensuring appropriate communication within the organization becomes essential. For that, the company uses collaboration tools such as Slack to increase the sense of community, communication, and collaboration. These tools are particularly effective within the current home-working environments for chats and calls. The company also utilizes its own NoQuibblz app to speed up claims but also uses messaging apps like WhatsApp with customer groups to provide digital tools for communication and document provision for insurance claims.
MIC strives to leverage its culture and effective communication for providing top-notch services in the near future. Talking about the plans for the future, Richard said, “We were the first to transition from being a broker to a digital insurance provider and this is critical for the future, to be able to create, sell, and service our own products globally.”
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