The Micro Insurance Academy (MIA), an international NGO, has just opened an office in Bonn to coordinate the extension of insurance to the poor in developing countries, so called microinsurance. During the opening event, MIA’s chairman, Prof. Dr. David Dror, stated that “insurance is recognized everywhere as an effective mechanism for risk protection, yet it is unfortunately a missing piece in securing the success of various development projects”, leaving the poor in developing countries to their own devices when facing various risks. When these risks occur, previous success to reduce poverty can be wiped out, as people fall back into destitution. The Lord Mayor of Bonn, Mr. Jürgen Nimptsch, welcomed MIA to the city: “MIA’s decision to locate its offices in Bonn reiterates the attraction of the city as a center for international development, which benefits from a strong network of like-minded institutions working on various aspects of development”.
The Micro Insurance Academy focuses on the development of pro-poor insurance by providing technical expertise to various development partners. MIA was founded as a charitable trust in India in 2007 and has now launched its international activities as a registered association with office in Bonn, Germany. Among the founding members are Welthungerhilfe e.V. (Germany) and Hivos (The Netherlands); the association invites further development actors to become members and thus owners of MIA.
The microinsurance “sector” is a new rapidly growing development activity. MIA has been able to position itself as the leading technical service provider in this domain, by developing innovative approaches to insurance education, like for instance producing a Bollywood-style movie on microinsurance. The MIA Microinsurance implementation process is ISO9001:2008 certified (ISO is an international quality management standard), and MIA is the only actor in microinsurance having obtained such distinction. Since inception in India three years ago, MIA grew from 3 to more than 40 full-time staff members. MIA is providing technical assistance in India, Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Fiji and other countries; MIA is now increasingly approached with demand from all parts of the world.
MIA plans to respond to this international demand from its international office in Bonn. By internationalizing, MIA aims to assist at least 1 million people to access insurance by the end of 2014. This innovative approach in risk protection can increase the sustainable impact of development projects.