MicroEnsure Ghana Ltd., the first organization dedicated to serving low-income Ghanaians with insurance, has won the coveted 2011 Sustainable Finance Award in the category “Achievement in Financing at the Base of the Pyramid.” The awards were sponsored by the Financial Times (UK), the leading global financial newspaper, and the International Finance Corporation. Winners were announced on June 16 at a dinner in London attended by more than 250 leaders in finance and sustainability.

Peter Gross, 10EvMBA, serves as MicroEnsure Ghana’s General Manager.

The FT/IFC Sustainable Finance Awards are the world’s leading awards for banks and other institutions focused on sustainable development. The 2011 Awards attracted a record 187 entries from 161 institutions in 61 countries.

MicroEnsure Ghana beat out a highly competitive pool of 45 contestants in its category, including top global banks such as JPMorgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which finished in second place behind MicroEnsure. MicroEnsure is licensed in Ghana by the National Insurance Commission as an insurance intermediary.

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MicroEnsure Ghana won the 2011 award due to its efforts to offer insurance through mobile phone networks, including Tigo and MTN. MicroEnsure Ghana’s work in the new field of mobile insurance or “m-insurance” is expected to double the number of Ghanaians served by life insurance within just one year. Independent surveys by FinScope and GIZ have indicated that less than 2 percent of Ghanaians were protected by life insurance policies in 2010. MicroEnsure’s m-insurance products will more than double that coverage in 2011 alone by offering products that are suitable and affordable for low-income Ghanaians.

As an insurance intermediary, MicroEnsure Ghana works in partnership with insurance companies, such as Star, Vanguard, UT Life, SIC, and ELAC, to offer micro insurance products that meet the needs of Ghanaians not traditionally served by insurance, including market traders, farmers, and domestic laborers. In addition to reaching this market through mobile phone companies, MicroEnsure Ghana also collaborates with microfinance banks and other like-minded social institutions.

“This FT/IFC award is an honour for MicroEnsure and our partners, as well as the National Insurance Commission,” Gross said. “The Commissioner and her team have worked tirelessly to produce innovations that will improve access to insurance for all Ghanaians, especially those that have not been able to afford insurance in the past. Together, we are working for Ghana to become a shining example for micro insurance on the African continent.”

Through its partners, MicroEnsure Ghana currently serves more than 350,000 Ghanaians with a variety of insurance products. The organization, whose offices are located in Osu, Accra, is looking to collaborate with financial institutions such as banks and credit unions, as well as NGOs, retailers and other social aggregators, in order to ensure that every Ghanaian has access to affordable, reliable insurance.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The above information is from a press release issued by MicroEnsure.