The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group, have signed a memorandum of understanding, joining forces to tackle the protection gap faced by women, increase their knowledge of risk and access to insurance.
The organisations will collaborate on research data and raising the profile of women and risk through the CII's Insuring Women's Futures (IWF) initiative and the IFC's programme of work into developing women's insurance in emerging markets.
IWF and IFC both understand that although women have growing incomes and buying power globally, the financial risks they face are also increasing, amplifying their need for protection. Moreover, women's access to and engagement with insurance remains limited both in mature and emerging markets.
To date, IWF has focused on the needs of women as consumers in the UK, and IFC is dedicated to expanding private sector investment in developing countries, with financial inclusion as a strategic priority. The signing of the MOU recognizes the natural synergies for further collaboration and links with the CII's international work.
Sian Fisher, CII Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are delighted to announce we are working with IFC on this key initiative. Even in mature markets such as the UK, women have a significant protection gap. It is not simply a question of emerging markets learning from or following mature markets- we too can learn a lot from the innovative approaches already under way as part of IFC's Women and Insurance programme in emerging markets.
"By working together with IFC we believe we can make a greater impact globally to ensure we fight for better outcomes for women across the world."
Marcos Brujis, IFC's Finance Investment Group Director, added "We are delighted to be partnering with CII in this important area. Increasing the availability and awareness of appropriate insurance products will help women and their families and communities manage their risks. The insurance industry also has the potential to provide employment opportunities for women, both in insurance companies and as distributors.
"The partnership with CII will enable us to increase awareness of women's needs and accelerate innovation and knowledge sharing among industry players to develop business opportunities in emerging and mature markets."
IWF and IFC will focus on gathering different stakeholders within the insurance profession to facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation to better address the needs of women and create better protection solutions for women consumers.
IWF was launched in March 2016 with the aim of reducing the gender risk imbalance within society; improving access, awareness and take up of insurance products and services by women, and also creating a more diverse and inclusive insurance market, which actively addresses women's risks.
IFC has a long track record of gender initiatives in emerging markets. In 2015, IFC together with AXA and Accenture, launched the SheforShield: Insure Women To Better Protect All report, which estimated the market opportunity for women's insurance will reach over $1.7 trillion USD premiums by 2030. Half of the opportunity is within emerging market economies.