Interview with Inclusive Guarantee’s CEO: Vance Abissa
Vance, what is Inclusive Guarantee’s story?
Vance: Inclusive Guarantee was established in France in 2007 as an insurance broker and consultant specialized in micro-insurance and inclusive social protection in West Africa. We opened local subsidiaries in Senegal in 2011 and in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast between 2012 and 2014. Currently, our operations focus on West Africa exclusively, where we have been collaborating with partners (such as USAID and IFC), large corporations (such as Total, Tigo and Orange), farmers groups (such as Naatal Mbay), insurers (such as Allianz and CNAAS), as well as banks and microfinance institutions (such as Advans and Ecobank).
Our business model is unique in that it combines several years of experience in consulting and proprietary R&D activities with insurance and micro-insurance brokerage. We aim to make insurance accessible and above all, to allow individuals who have previously been excluded from the conventional insurance systems to benefit from insurance coverage adapted to their needs. All our staff is located in West Africa.
Why does Inclusive Guarantee focus on climate risk to agriculture and what is your main target group?
Vance: The vast majority of people in West Africa depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change is continuously impacting their production and therefore their incomes. This is why Inclusive Guarantee aims to increase the resilience of rural populations to the effects of climate change (for example droughts). Our main target is farmers in general, with a particular focus on smallholder farmers.
What is the benefit of your products for smallholder farmers in West Africa?
Vance: Smallholder farmers want simple insurance products tailored to their needs. They also wish to benefit from support in terms of training and awareness. The products offered by Inclusive Guarantee reflect these requirements: A focus on product simplicity, training, raising awareness and proximity to our clients is what guides the Inclusive Guarantee approach. Products are affordable, with average premium for crop insurance at EUR 4.5 and EUR 3.4 for health and life insurance.
What is the biggest USP that diﬀerentiates Inclusive Guarantee from competitors?
Vance: Unlike conventional insurance brokers, we take the time to study the environment and the specific profile of our target customer before proposing a suitable product or service to them. Giving useful advice and helping our clients learn is at the heart of our approach upstream and downstream. We furthermore profit from a strong shareholding network with international references.
How are BlueOrchard and the InsuResilience Investment Fund helping you grow?
Vance: BlueOrchard and the InsuResilience Investment Fund have allowed Inclusive Guarantee to continue to grow its business and, most importantly, to reach as many smallholder farmers as possible. BlueOrchard brings deep operational expertise in emerging markets and agricultural insurance. Combined with its strong network of relationships with financial institutions in Africa, this provides strong support to successfully realize our ambitious plans for profitable growth.
What are your next milestones in terms of growth? And what is your vision for the company for the next years in terms of size and impact?
Over the next 5 years, we plan to be the leading insurance broker in inclusive insurance, driving the digitalisation of the sector in West Africa. We will continue to focus on agricultural insurance to strengthen the resilience of rural populations, particularly with the increasing pressures of climate change in mind.
Thank you, Vance, for answering our questions.