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The Cinnamon Grand in Colombo seemed extra alive over the past few days as Sri Lanka hosted the 12th International Microinsurance Conference. From the 15th to the 17th of November, more than 400 insurers from over 50 countries and Sri Lanka gathered to share their views and ideas on the topic of insurance and the development of microinsurance.

Initiated in 2005 by the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network, the purpose of the conference lies in providing insurers, re-insurers, insurance/re-insurance brokers, micro credit agents, insurance regulators, international donor agencies as well as organizations like the World Bank Group and ILO, from all over the globe with a suitable platform to meet, share ideas and experience while learning new and innovative methods to further develop the concept of microinsurance in their own countries. As Mr. Thomas Loster, the Chairman of the Munich Re Foundation stated at the opening ceremony, “We are devoted to aiding those most vulnerable, the poor”.

The opening ceremony took place at 2.00 pm on the 15th of November in the Oak Room of the Cinnamon Grand with the Honorable Minister of Finance, Mr. Ravi Karunanayake taking on the role of Chief Guest and the Chairperson of the IBSL, Mrs. Indrani Sugathadasa attending as Guest of Honor. Stepping up to the microphone Mr. Dirk Perera, the President of the IASL expressed his absolute pleasure to welcome the gathering to the conference as according to him, “Microinsurance goes to the very heart and purpose of our business”. Mr. Perera also thanked the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network for the confidence they have shown by selecting the IASL to host the International Microinsurance Conference for the year 2016 and for the support both organizations have rendered in the organization of the prestigious event.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Loster graciously thanked and acknowledged the contributions made by the IASL since the inception of the conference and stated that he was confident that the Sri Lankan insurance industry was ready to take on a leading role in the global insurance market. The Chairman went on to thank the Microinsurance Network for their support in the endeavor. “Insuring the poor against climate change is one of the matters for which this conference is striving to find solutions,” added Mr. Loster. Mr. Michael McCord, the President of the Microinsurance Network stated that the conference had already proven to be most exciting. In his speech, Mr. McCord placed special emphasis on the necessity of trust between insurer and customer and encouraged all those gathered to learn from the conference and apply those teachings to their own work.

Mrs. Indrani Sugathadasa warmly welcomed all those gathered to the 12th International Microinsurance Conference, adding that it was a great leap forward for the insurance community of Sri Lanka to host such a popular international event. Mr. Rohan Sachdev, EY’s Global Insurance Emerging Market Leader, delivered the keynote address during which he discussed the concept, gaps, benefits and aspects of microinsurance.

Chief Guest, Minister Karunanayake was most pleased by the efforts and initiatives of the IASL, the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network in holding such an important conference on microinsurance. “I am pleased to note that sustainability has come into focus which we took into account while drawing up the Sri Lanka national budget proposal this year. It is my fervent wish that the conference commencing today will bring in greater benefits for the industry and more opportunities for the beneficiaries, the lower income citizens thus making them inclusive”. The minister further went on to state, “The professionalism of the organizers is clearly depicted by the objectives enumerated which will hopefully provide the correct foundation to ensure that the 12th Annual International Microinsurance Conference held during the next few days in Sri Lanka will be the most valuable we’ve held in the recent years”.

The IASL, the Munich Re Foundation and the Microinsurance Network were joined by the IBSL as a co-host and J.B Boda as the gold sponsor of the conference.

In addition to the main event, a pre-conference workshop organized by ILO and was held on the 14th of November at Cinnamon Grand, based on the topic, “Managing Microinsurance Distribution & Building Sustainable Agriculture Insurance”. The Annual General Meeting of the Microinsurance Network was held on the 18th of November while the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) hosted their financial inclusion working group and draft group on the use of Digital Technology in conjunction with the conference.