Accessible Insurance for All - A Conversation with MicroEnsure's Richard Leftley
MicroEnsure’s origins date back in 2002 when its founder, Richard Leftley, started asking a simple question of traditional insurance companies – why is it that insurers only create products and services for the wealthy? He never got a good answer. Richard had seen the data on the impact that natural disasters had on human lives in emerging markets – there was clearly a mismatch between risk and access to insurance.
Years later, as mobile penetration in these markets increased, MicroEnsure stopped asking its clients three standard questions during the signup process (name, age, and next of kin) – and they signed up 20 million customers in 140 days! They now serve over 60 million customers, 80% of whom had never had insurance prior to MicroEnsure.
2:47 – On MicroEnsure’s distribution model.
5:48 – How can MicroEnsure not ask any questions of their customers? It comes down to the difference in traditional insurance products versus microinsurance.
7:23 – How MicroEnsure leverages its distribution partners to achieve requisite scale.
8:17 – Why MicroEnsure went straight to the partnership model as opposed to going direct to the consumer.
10:34 – How MicroEnsure leverages their partners’ brands and data to sell their products.
13:13 – Richard and Justin discuss misconceptions around customer education and the importance of very simple products.
14:54 – The changes to MicroEnsure’s business model and how they fit into the insurance value chain.
17:11 – Richard background and the origin story of MicroEnsure.
19:52 – MicroEnsure’s business in Africa and key considerations for expansion.
23:39 – Market size as a consideration and stories of their business in Malawi and Nigeria.
25:00 – The story of MicroEnsure moving from a non-profit, funded by a large grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to a for-profit, venture-backed company.
27:25 – After 20 years as an entrepreneur, Richard shares his general advice for entrepreneurs.