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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Microinsurance firm more than triples coverage across Cambodia

Solene Favre, CEO of Prévoir (Kampuchea) Micro Life Insurance Plc., spoke about the growth in microinsurance.
Solene Favre, CEO of Prévoir (Kampuchea) Micro Life Insurance Plc., spoke about the growth in microinsurance. Hong Menea

Microinsurance firm more than triples coverage across Cambodia

As the first microinsurance provider in Cambodia, PKMI (Prévoir Kampuchea Micro Life Insurance Plc) has expanded into all 25 provinces to help middle- to low-income individuals and businesses mitigate the high cost of health care in the event of an emergency. Established in 2011, PKMI, a subsidiary of the French-owned company Prévoir Group created in France in 1910, provides affordable health, life and personal accident insurance. PKMI operates through two channels of distribution; working with individual clients through six micro-finance institutions (MFI) while also reaching out to employers, regardless the size of their staff, to personalize packages catered to fit a company’s budget.

The mission of the company is simple: “We want to provide insurance to everyone by adapting our policies to fit individual needs by looking at the capacity people have to pay. And we have the ability to adjust the policy to meet their budget,” said PKMI CEO, Solène Favre. “We have this definition of health. It is not only to provide treatment and hospitalization, but also to avoid and prevent [injury] and to keep people safe in mind and [body].”

While presently insuring around 100 companies from organizations in Siem Reap to multinationals in Phnom Penh, PKMI has more than tripled the amount of people with coverage in the last year growing from 13,073 policyholders in 2013, to 48,890 by 2014 and the earned premium ratio 2013/2014 has multiplied by three. By studying and analyzing the health habits of Cambodians, Favre credits the increase to a variety of factors. One of which is by having insurance field coordinators based in all the country’s provinces capable of responding to a claim within 24 hours.

“Once one of our clients calls us, we send our staff directly to the hospital. From there, our staff works closely with our doctors and medical staff in [Phnom Penh] to make sure that protocols are followed and the treatment is matching with the diagnosis,” said Favre. She said that this helps fight against treatment that overcharges patients in the case of misdiagnoses, excessive injections, undue pharmaceutical costs and overpriced outpatient care. “We help our clients make informed decisions about their treatment, and give them the chance to think twice” before receiving something that could be precarious to their recovery.

To Favre, this is immediately important as healthcare costs, and those seeking health care, continue to increase. According to the Cambodian National Institute of Statistics and the National Bank of Cambodia, health care costs have increased by 19 per cent in 2014.

PKMI has proactively audited and partnered with 120 public and private hospitals, and clinics throughout the country to promote legal and reliable health services. This offers a network of care, especially for those who have to migrate for employment.

Favre estimates that in four months the number could increase to 150 as the auditing process that checks the hygiene, operating hours, equipment and quality of service of a facility, continues.

“This guarantees the good quality of medical care and services to all our clients. If a client goes to one of our approved facilities, it is a cashless system where they don’t have to pay. If they go to a different legal clinic, we reimburse them for the costs within five days,” she said. To ensure that their clients go to the appropriate hospitals, PKMI requires all insured to call the 24/7 hotline before any medical intervention.

By holding village meetings and health education modules in companies on issues such as maternal care, sanitation, helmet safety and safe drinking water habits, PKMI prevent and identifies the health and accident risks beforehand.

“[Our] clients receive all the information on how to use, how to claim and what are the benefits [of insurance], and this is very important,” she said acknowledging that there has been difficulties gaining trust on the local level. “To get their confidence takes quite long if what we see in the villages is that someone is injured for example, and the hospital bill is $500, when we [arrive] the next day and give the $500, people start to believe. And now that PKMI is much more known then before, they are confident in our company,” she said. “Microinsurance can only be sustainable with the help and contribution from the trust of people who benefit from it.”

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