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First Microinsurance Agency Established in Pakistan


Karachi, Pakistan, 27 February 2008 - The First Microinsurance Agency (FMiA) was inaugurated today as Pakistan’s first dedicated micro-insurance agency. FMiA will provide innovative life and health microinsurance products that are carefully tailored to the needs of poor families. It is working in partnership with New Jubilee Life, a subsidiary of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and one of Pakistan’s leading insurance companies, as its principal insurer. FMiA is also the first insurance agency in Pakistan to be established as a company rather than as an individual enterprise.

Microinsurance includes a range of products that can help the working poor manage economic hardship such as natural disaster, hospitalisation, or a death in the family. Poor families in the developing world are more likely to experience financial hardships that can make it impossible to rise out of poverty. Less than three percent of people in the world’s 100 poorest countries have any type of insurance to protect them from financial shock.
Kaleem Abbas, the new CEO of FMiA said that “Microinsurance is a relatively new phenomenon, but is attracting increasing interest worldwide by commercial insurance companies. The provision of low cost insurance to millions of Pakistan’s poor families constitutes a vast market potential. Microcredit is a rapidly expanding business in Pakistan and by offering insurance we are expanding the range of financial services available to families which previously had been excluded.”

The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) provided an investment of Pakistan Rs. 30 million (US $500,000) in start up capital to FMiA. It is AKAM’s second affiliate institution in Pakistan, following on the highly successful First MicroFinanceBank Ltd.

AKAM currently has microfinance institutions in 13 countries throughout Asia and Africa. This investment in FMiA, its first in the insurance sector, demonstrates AKAM’s determination to build on its outreach to poor families by including them in the formal economy and providing them with a range of financial services to enhance their quality of life and improve their economic security.

FMiA has also benefitted greatly from some research and pre start-up funding provided to AKAM in 2005 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their wider efforts to improve access to financial services for the poor.

Javed Ahmed, CEO of New Jubilee Life, said, “We, at New Jubilee Life, welcome our new partner in developing this important activity. New Jubilee Life currently insures more that 800,000 lives in the microinsurance sector and with the expertise and assistance of FMiA, we look forward to significantly expanding the market further. We are particularly excited about the development of health insurance products, so that poor families can significantly benefit from healthier lives.”

Contact:
Kaleem Abbas
CEO
First Microinsurance Agency (FMiA)
Suite #101, 1st Floor Business Arcade,
Sharah-e-Faisal, Karachi
Tel : +92 021 4542950
E-mail: kaleem.abbas.ext@akdn.org

Greg Long
Communication and External Relations Officer
The Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM)
1-3 Avenue de la Paix - 1202 Genève
Tel: +41 22 909 7346 - Fax: +41 22 909 7290
Mobile: +41 079 2011466
E-mail: greg.long@akdn.org

Notes:
Since its establishment in 2005, the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) has brought together over 25 years of microfinance activities, programmes and banks that were administered by sister agencies within the Aga Khan Development Network. The underlying objectives of the Agency are to reduce poverty, diminish the vulnerability of poor populations and alleviate economic and social exclusion. AKAM is a not-for-profit, non-denominational, international development agency created under Swiss law. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. It is governed by an independent Board of Directors. The Chairman of the Board is His Highness the Aga Khan.
New Jubilee Life Insurance Company Limited (NJI Life) is a subsidiary of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), Switzerland. It was incorporated in Pakistan on 29 June 1995 as a Public Limited Company under the Companies Ordinance 1984. Its share are quoted on the Karachi Stock Exchange.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people -- especially those with the fewest resources -- have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Both AKAM and AKFED are part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of institutions working to improve living conditions and opportunities in specific regions of the developing world. The Network's institutions have mandates that range from the fields of health and education to rural development and the promotion of private-sector enterprise. The three main areas of activity in the Network are social development, economic development and culture.

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