New insurance products to help sari-sari shop owners weather calamities  
Ottawa, January 26, 2017: Microentrepreneurs in the Philippines will soon be able to recover more quickly from weather disasters thanks to new insurance products under development by the Insurance Commission of the Philippines and the RIMANSI
Organization for Asia and the Pacific Inc.

Mike Casey addresses the microinsurance forum in Manila
CCA Executive Director Mike Casey delivering concluding remarks at the Manila microinsurance forum.   
The organizations are collaborating with the Canadian Co-operative Association, the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Inc. (CARD Inc.), and the Microventures Foundation (Hapinoy) to help 1,600 sari-sari shop owners in Samar and Leyte - provinces devastated by typhoon Haiyan in 2013 - become less vulnerable to market and weather setbacks through intensive business training and new non-life calamity insurance products. Their project,
Bagong Araw Philippines:
Rebuilding through Microinsurance and Women's Micro-enterprises (also known as PREMIUM
) was introduced at a microinsurance forum held this week in Manila. 
 
"Most small entrepreneurs cannot afford the cost of current non-life insurance plans, says Mr. Rolando Victoria, Vice President of the RIMANSI Board of Trustees. "It's a situation that renders them unable to repair or rebuild their shops and replace water-damaged inventory as quickly as they would like to following extreme weather events like Haiyan. We hope eventually to make affordable, timely insurance services and training available to all microentrepreneurs, including the estimated 900,000 local family operated sari-sari shops across the country."
 
Sari-sari stores are iconic family owned and managed convenience shops located on every street in every community across the Philippines. They provide a wide range of goods and services to a loyal clientele - from fast food snacks and packaged dry goods to school supplies and mobile data cards. Pressures from increased competition from corporate chains and changing demands from customers are forcing sari-sari shop owners, the majority of whom are women, to rethink the way they do business.

The PREMIUM project is helping sari-sari shop owners acquire skills and knowledge to successfully manage their businesses, access financing to expand or upgrade their product offerings, and open new revenue streams as distributors of life and non-life insurance products that will increase insurance protection in typhoon affected communities.

"Stronger more resilient sari-sari shops will be better able to deliver needed goods and services to their customers while at the same time improve their income and well being," says CCA Executive Director Michael Casey. "That's good not only for sari-sari shop owners and their customers in the Philippines, but for the peace of mind of those Filipino Canadians whose families run small businesses back home and are vulnerable to weather events.

The
Insurance Commission of the Philippines regulates and oversees the operations of insurance, reinsurance corporations, mutual benefit associations and other similar organizations. It works closely with RIMANSI, the leading microinsurance developer in the Philippines, to establish and regulate new insurance products and services.
 
"Equipping microentrepreneurs with the coverage they need to rebound sooner and more fully from weather and market shocks is an urgent need given the frequency of such calamities here in the Philippines," says Senator Bam Aquino, who is championing the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in the Philippines. 
 
"We saw in the wake of Haiyan how those who had microinsurance recovered so much more quickly than those without insurance," says CARD Inc. CEO Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip. "The cost of protection against the hardships of calamity should no longer be a barrier to microentrepreneurs who work so hard to build bright futures for their families and provide much needed services to their communities." CARD Inc. works with RIMANSI and other microinsurance organizations to deliver needed insurance coverage to millions of disadvantaged persons in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. 
 
PREMIUM is a three-year project funded by the Government of Canada and the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada. The project is in line with the national goal to reduce inequality by expanding and increasing access to economic opportunities, reducing vulnerability of the poor, accelerating human capital, and improving resiliency and ecological integrity.
 
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The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) is a not-for-profit co-operative which establishes and strengthens co-operatives, credit unions and community-based organizations to reduce poverty, build sustainable livelihoods and improve civil society in developing countries.   

The Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Inc. (CARD Inc.)
was founded in 1986. It aims to improve the quality of life of socially and economically challenged women and families by providing banking, microfinancing, microinsurance, business development services and training.  

The RIMANSI Organization for Asia and the Pacific Inc.
is a microinsurance technical resource centre established by leading microfinance institutions in the Philippines to promote universal risk protection for the socio-economically disadvantaged in Asia and the Pacific.
 
The Microventures Foundation
was established in 2007 and implements Hapinoy, a program that supports the development of a viable and sustainable business model for micro-entrepreneurs through capacity building.   

The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF)
is a registered charitable organization that works to alleviate poverty by building and strengthening financial and non-financial co-ops in Canada and around the world. CDF works with the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and other organizations to implement development projects on its behalf.   
 
For more information about PREMIUM and the Microinsurance Forum please contact Ms. Jean Roxas at Jean.roxas@cooopscanada.coop .