The December 2008 visit
In December of 2008, MIAN-consultants Lia van Hooff and Gert Hamming went to Uganda to draft the format of the market research, together with the local consultant and an employee of the UCA. The research focused on the aforementioned two SACCOS that were interested in micro insurance: Mateete and Lwengo SACCO. The second assignment for Lia and Gert was to find out if the establishment of a private insurance company was possible and to find visit local insurance companies that may be interested in offering life and health insurance.
The establishment of a private insurance company was out of the question, due to the financial demands that would pose. Therefore, we chose for a construction in which the UCA and the SACCOS would act as intermediaries. Regarding the insurance companies, we selected Liberty Life, for life insurance, and Micro Care, for health insurance.
The January 2009 visit
In January of 2009, there was a follow-up visit, with the goal of to write a business planning report and to have further discussions with Liberty Life and Micro Care. In conjunction with the local consultant, MIAN drafted the format for a business plan and visited two eager insurance companies. We also held a three-day workshop about insurance for a few staff members of the UCA, Mateete and Lwengo SACCO.
The workshop was a huge success, thanks to the use of a specifically designed game that was developed and which is now available as a tool for MIAN.
Unfortunately, Liberty was unable to answer questions about the insurance product they would offer. The assessment was for the product to have a few conditions that could harm the reputation of the insurance industry, which would be terrible for an already vulnerable group. Later, when Micro Care’s license was revoked on top of that, we were back at square one with the exception of the various reports.
Because UCA think micro insurance is important for their members, Agriterra consistently pointed out to UCA that they had to start talks with other insurance companies to see if they might be interested in creating joint access to insurance for those members. There was little to no interest whatsoever. Health insurance turned out to be impossible due to the departure of Micro Care.
After a considerable amount of time, during which many companies declined because of the low premiums, there was finally a light at the end of the tunnel: Sanlam Life Insurance (U) Ltd., a South African insurance company, had established itself in Uganda in April of 2010 and was very interested in collaborating with the UCA.
The November 2010 visit
At the invitation of the UCA, Lia and Gert visited Uganda for a third time in November of 2010. This time around, the goal was to become acquainted with Sanlam and to do workshops with the two SACCOs about the product that Sanlam would offer.
Sanlam had developed the Family Protection Plan for the UCA. By then, Lia and Gert had a few questions about the product itself and, taking into account the level of premium, the feasibility of the product for large groups of the SACCO-members. Some simple math with data from the business planning report showed that for more than 80% of the target group, the premium for the death risk insurance would exceed 4% of the annual income.
Fortunately, Sanlam has acknowledged the problem and within a few days introduced a new product to the UCA and to us: Group Last Expense Policy. The coverage is very straightforward: a flat monthly premium for everyone, a six-month waiting period in case of deaths by disease, a declaration of health and double the cash benefits in case of deaths caused by an accident.
UCA has founded the UCCFS (Ugandan Cooperative Central Financial Service) to harbour all the insurance activities. The UCCFS will primarily operate as an agent for Sanlam. The SACCOs will report about all their insurance activities to Sanlam through UCCFS.
Together with Sanlam, we have organized workshops at Mateete and Kakuuto Kakuuto SACCO was introduced because Lwengo is in the middle of a change in management and will be approached later. There is a lot of enthusiasm among the local population and within Sanlam and it looks like we will finally be able to celebrate a success.
Regular mail contact has taken place since we returned from Uganda end of November. With great pleasure we learned that the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between our partner UCA/UCCFS and Sanlam Life Insurance Company Ltd has been signed on March 9, 2011.
Furthermore, UCCFS has been accepted as agency by the Insurance Commissioner. Two people responsible for the UCCFS, namely Jennifer Burakuza and Patrick Muumba, as well as three staff members of Kakuuta and Mateete SACCO successfully followed the Sanlam training. The training included; insurance, Sanlam’s Family Protection Plan, Group Life, Credit Life and funeral insurance. Jennifer and Patrick are also following the Insurance Course at the Insurance Institute in order to obtain the COP (Certificate of Proficiency).
The kick-off of the project in the form of a combined presentation by UCA/UCCFS and Sanlam took place during the pre-annual meeting at Mateete SACCO on 13th March.
This is a short movie impression of one of the Mian missions in Uganda