Women and Insurance. An Issue, The Diagnose & A Way Out

26 May 2016 —
hiteshWe discussed in last two write up about the concept of insurance and welfare insurance. We discuss the purpose of insurance where we claimed that it has to reach to the last man in society, this is something going beyond the traditional thinking, it is an out of box thinking. It will not go against the concept of profit and loss. But in fact, it would contribute to the accounts of insurance companies at a greater extend. Imagine a situation where insurance penetration would reach at least 50% in a country like Russia, and not only for Accident insurance, Life and medical insurance, but also for property insurance, liability insurance, etc. that are requirement of modern society. What would be the premium collection, it must be record high compared to situation today?

But it is diagnosing of the problem, that many have done it correctly in their respective field earlier. Actuaries have done in terms of right and wrong pricing, underwriters have done in terms of covers and restrictions in various insurance policies, human resource have done in terms of manpower, incentive, etc., and at the end management would do for IT, HR, R&D, etc. expense. Therefore, we would try and locate an answer to these various outcomes of key issues, what can lead penetration? Where do we start?

Here; I want to quote a tweet that came from UNFPA official account. I have spent nearly 15 years in development sector, worked on number of issues such as Gender, HIV, Human Rights, Water Management, Peace Keeping Mission, Education, etc. but never came across such devastating statement. In a middle of a night I was compelled to wake up and change my topic to "Women and Insurance" from Agriculture insurance. There is no country in world, no place at all where women are equal in terms of accessibility to rights, opportunities, protection, other services as man. And it is devastating because we are talking about world's half of the population. The figures I could locate are as of June 13, 2013, (http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-gender-age.php) , the world population is 7,162,119,434 out of which 50.4% are male (3,609,708,195) and 49.6% female (3,552,411,239). It becomes even more important to involve women in CIS countries, as there are higher number of Female population compared to men in CIS countries. Gender ratio in Russia is currently 86.8 men per 100 women, in Latvia 84.8, Ukraine 86.3, Armenia 86.5, Belarus 86.8 and other former Soviet nations are similarly low. (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/08/14/why-the-former-ussr-has-far-fewer-men-than-women/)

There would be many issues associated such as male- female ratio of women workforce in insurance industry, number of Women as CEO's and in other key position, equality of pay and opportunity etc. Insurance Business magazine recently quoted
Please note it is likely to happen in near future, not the scenario today. Coming back to the issue, insurance industry has low level of female participation in terms of employment that would give an idea that though the industry is well organized, flourished and wide-spread, the needs and requirement related to female issues are unnoticed at quite an extend. ILO quotes on their website that "In almost every CIS country woman have high education compared to men. Such as Russia, women in labor market generally have higher level of education compared to men where they constitute more than 50% of university students, along with professional training, high economic activity and active participation in public life. At the same time, women's share in fast-developing and highly paid sectors is decreasing and industrial and occupational segregation is growing".

Some more issues related to women and women in insurance, in general and in CIS countries would be, specialized/ customized products for women, health insurance covering needs related to contraceptives and pregnancy, etc., life insurance products that can lead to saving among female population, pension schemes and insurance products offering retirement benefits, products for working women, products for women/ girls under education process, products for single mother with child care, insurance that addresses specific requirements of married and unmarried women, products that takes care of age, debt, women with or without children, number of children and their age, overall health and the amount of money the family will need to survive, insurance policy for lower, middle and upper class of women, etc.

By enlarge the insurance market has worked with a generic sense. There have been some policies made available that addresses specific issues of particular section of society, but addressing issues related to women is of prime importance, again because we are dealing with world's half of the population. One step ahead of providing curative services under insurance, a preventive measure can be adopted by insurance companies, such as Health Check-up, that can reduce the claim ratio. We have seen some specialized medical insurance companies promoting such practices.

It may sound unrealistic at a moment, but an insurance that provides benefit in case of violence against women, would be an ideal situation. Violence against women do have serious implication of physical and mental health that is unaddressed entirely. A government funded insurance scheme for women, should be given a thought. An example would be the Constitution in Russian Federation provides right to free healthcare under Mandatory Medical Insurance since 1996, but specialized sub-program for women can be designed under the umbrella of this major scheme. As a result, healthcare expenditure in Russia was 6.5% of GDP, USD 957 per person in 2013. Around 48% funds came from government. Somewhere near 5% population have health insurance in Russia. Once we have successful model program in one country, it can easily be replicated in other countries, can be adopted by other CIS countries.

It is important to work on women issues because when we work with women/ mother, when they are trained, protected, we are building the mind set for next generation. For the better world tomorrow, it is imperative that we provide social security to women today. Insurance is a key tool.

by Hitesh KHRISTY

Hitesh KHRISTY is a Development, Project Management and Reinsurance Professional, having worked in multiple countries. He has been writing for NGOs, IT Companies, insurance sector and on social issues, political empowerment, United Nation and it's concerns, war and peace, for more than one decades. Has been involved in speaking at Social work and Social science schools & various universities on Welfare Insurance, Micro Insurance, War & Terrorism, Social issues. Few of his upcoming books are on 1) Modern Social Problems, 2) Liability Insurance,  3) Terrorism etc.

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