Wasafiri

Engaging Swiss Re leaders to scale up smallholder insurance

Swiss Re, one the world’s leading reinsurance companies, runs a leadership programme each year for its next generation of Managing Directors. To make the learning engaging, Swiss Re wanted to present the delegates with a business challenge that was real and compelling.

Wasafiri identified that providing insurance to Africa’s 600 million smallholders offered a huge commercial and social opportunity, but one that was going to demand Swiss Re staff to rethink traditional business models. Swiss Re was already pioneering new models, such as through a partnership with Oxfam and WFP in Ethiopia to strengthen the resilience of rural communities (see video below). But how could such models be taken to scale? Against this question, Wasafiri designed a 2-day business project that threw Swiss Re’s future leaders into the challenges and dilemmas of how to provide affordable, commercially viable insurance to smallholders at scale.

2014 will be the fifth year Wasafiri has run the simulation. Each year participants not only leave with rich learning about their leadership skills, but also with renewed passion for the role Swiss Re can play in generating shared value in Africa. Over this period, Swiss Re has also significantly scaled up its engagement in Africa, and programmes like R4, that were once managed as corporate responsibility initiatives, are now managed by commercial teams.

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