Colombo, Sri Lanka, November 9, 2020—Sri Lankan women, including female entrepreneurs, are expected to have increased access to insurance and more of a chance of a job in the insurance industry, in the wake of an agreement between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and AIA Sri Lanka —subsidiary of the life insurance group, AIA Group.
Under the agreement, IFC will help AIA Sri Lanka develop a women's insurance program strategy and suitable products for Sri Lankan women. In a country where very few women have insurance, the move will boost women's access to insurance and help mitigate their risks.
According to a 2015 survey by AIA Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan women are the main influencers and decision makers when it concerns their family's protection and future, and are proactive in safeguarding their health and financial well-being. Given the low insurance penetration rate in the country – which stands at 1.7 percent – targeting women and addressing their protection needs can help insurers reach a larger pool of Sri Lankans and increase the number of insured.
"Our partnership with IFC will allow AIA to better reach women through insurance – a key and an underserved segment in Sri Lanka – and empower them to protect what is most important to them," said Nikhil Advani, CEO of AIA Sri Lanka. "We see opening up new job opportunities for women in this industry as a significant point in increasing the uptake in the women's market. Female recruitment is an important part of our recruitment strategy and we truly do value our female employees for the perspective and value they bring to the organization."
The women's market represents a $1.7 trillion opportunity for the insurance industry globally by 2030, according to an IFC report, SheforShield: Insure Women to Better Protect All. Over half of this growth is expected to come from emerging markets such as Sri Lanka.
"The pandemic has thrown into sharp focus the need for adequate insurance products and services. We know the impact on women, their families and their businesses has been disproportionately high," said Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. "Our work with AIA will increase access to suitable insurance products for not just women but the overall population. It will also help bring more women into this industry as employees, agents or leaders."
This partnership with AIA Sri Lanka is part of IFC's Women's Insurance program, which is supported by the government of Australia under the IFC-DFAT Women in Work program. As IFC marks 50 years of operations in Sri Lanka in 2020, this partnership is in sync with IFC's country strategy, where promoting financial inclusion is one of the top priorities.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.