Emerging Project Lessons
Sufficient effort should go into aligning the objectives of the partners, gaining buy-in from all levels of the partner organization, and formalizing the partnership. Tenger and its distribution partner XB initially had a formal agreement to work together on all products and services, but no formal addendum was signed to specifically address this project. However, a lack of understanding of microinsurance led to unrealistic expectations. The management teams of both partners expected that a product could be developed with minimal market research and rolled out within a matter of weeks to all of its branches. The lack of a formal document setting out the partnership led to reduced commitment from the middle management of XB midway through the project. The implementation of a MoU that documents the nature of the partnership and the roles and responsibilities of each party would help align objectives and support communication. A partnership is a relationship that needs to be managed. Educating the partner on microinsurance can promote mutual understanding and pave the way for future collaboration.
Maintaining effective communications with partners can help leverage the positive influence they can have on the project. Because some key members of senior management had been XB employees, they found it easy to work with this distribution partner. They were eventually able to maintain effective communications with XB and they feel that XB has now developed a good understanding of the microinsurance product. XB has also positively influenced the project. For example, XB suggested that the product be launched in only two pilot branches initially in order to ease the burden of manual administration procedures until processes were clearly in place.
Many key functions can be pushed down to distribution channels and key ideas on product design and operation procedures may come from the distribution channels. XB’s participation in the project has been key to developing and implementing the microinsurance product. For example, XB’s new project manager has been supportive of and proactive on the project. She provided useful inputs to the premium collection process. XB facilitated the pilot branches’ managers and loan officers to set up the administration interface between XB and Tenger so that information flows were smooth. XB has also carried out a survey on insurance literacy, designed by Tenger, and its client data analysis was used in the product development stage. XB is responsible for marketing the product, sales, supporting the application process, premium collection and helping to submit claim forms.
Date of last Learning Journey update: September 2011