News

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Invests in Haiti’s Insurance Sector

September 12, 2012

Meg Galloway Pearce, 202-572-4045, or meg.pearce@clintonbushhaitifund.org

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund Joins the Inter-American Development Bank and MEDA/SARONA Asset Management in Investing in Haiti's Insurance Sector

The Alternative Insurance Company makes insurance available to Haiti's mass market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Sarona Asset Management and the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) joined the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in making investments in the Alternative Insurance Company (AIC). The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Sarona/MEDA are each investing $1 million in equity in the Haitian multiline insurance company.

AIC has products fit to cover a range of customers, from commercial enterprises to low-income individuals. The investments, alongside a $2 million subordinated loan from the IDB that was announced in April 2012, will provide AIC with capital to strengthen its portfolio of insurance products and better prepare the Haitian population for unforeseen circumstances.

“A robust insurance sector is an important precondition to sustainable reconstruction and mitigation of future risk in Haiti, a disaster-prone country,” Clinton Bush Haiti Fund CEO Gary Edson said. “Insurance access improves initial disaster response, gets individuals and businesses back on their feet faster, and reassures investors about the security of their investments. By strengthening AIC’s capital base, we are helping AIC offer this and, in turn, act as a beacon for what insurance in Haiti can be.”

The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s investment was catalytic in bringing other partners to the project, including the IDB. The IDB’s loan marks the organization’s first-ever partnership with a private sector company.

“We are encouraged that more Haitians are discovering insurance as an instrument of well-being,” AIC´s CEO Olivier Barrau said. “Most importantly, we are all learning that a prevention culture makes us stronger in an environment highly exposed to risk. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Sarona/MEDA partnerships will help us fulfill our promise of protection to those who most need it,” said Barrau.

While 2010 was critically challenging for Haiti's insurance industry, AIC honored all of its claims after the January 12th earthquake. For the last two years the company has focused on growing its business and creating innovative new offerings. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Sarona/MEDA investments will help promote this growth.

AIC products range from commercial, auto, life, and health insurance to lower-cost insurance products, known as micro-insurance, targeted toward middle- and low-income clients. One micro-insurance product is AIC’s funeral insurance, Protecta, which provides families with a safety net, preventing the shock of a death in the family from driving Haitians deeper into poverty. An AIC survey shows that a funeral costs on average 11 times the monthly income of a low-income family. Without insurance, families must cover this expense by borrowing money or selling the few assets they have.

These partnerships aim to assist AIC in the development of their micro-insurance products and mobile payment solutions. “We are pleased to partner with AIC for the betterment of the poor in Haiti,” said Julie Redfern, Vice President of Financial Services at MEDA. Sarona Asset Management is the investment arm of MEDA. “Philosophically, we are well-aligned with shared values, solid business experience and a commitment to bottom-of-the-pyramid clientele.”

Sarona Asset Management’s COO, Serge LeVert-Chiasson, explained that its decision to support the investment made by MEDA in AIC was driven by the quality of its senior management team, its leadership position within the insurance industry in the country and its focus on developing micro-insurance products for the working poor in Haiti.

 

About Alternative Insurance Company

Alternative Insurance Company (AIC) is a Haitian multiline insurance company founded in 2001 to provide insurance products to all segments of the population. AIC offers a variety of insurance products targeted to meet the needs of all Haitians. Business lines include Auto, Commercial, Homeowners, Life, Group health, Protecta and Micro-insurance products, supported by a strong distribution network and an excellent record of governance and responsiveness to its clients.

About MEDA and SARONA

MEDA is an international NGO founded in 1953 that provides technical expertise and project management in the areas of financial services and market linkages. More specifically its work focuses on subsector and value chain analysis, risk management, product development, health systems, technology solutions and financial institution capacity development. MEDA’s expertise cuts across sectors, working with vulnerable and underserved populations like youth, low-income women, and rural populations.

Sarona Asset Management is a private equity firm based in Waterloo, ON, and was spun out of MEDA in 2011. It is a co-founder and/or manager of a number of impact investment funds, including the Sarona and MicroVest groups of funds. Together, these funds have over $180 million in assets under management in emerging and developing country markets around the world.

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