An interview with Katharine Pulvermacher, Executive Director, Microinsurance network
Katharine Pulvermacher joined the Microinsurance Network in May 2017. Originally from South Africa, Katharine has lived and worked in Europe and the UK. A development economist who specialised in African Economics, she has a long track record in research and research management and has written on topics related to economic and social development, health and financial inclusion.
Prior to joining the Microinsurance Network, Katherine worked for Deloitte Consulting’s crack strategy team in Johannesburg and developed, among other things, strategic plans for women’s financial inclusion in Rwanda. She was also the first Africa Director of The Economist Corporate Network. From 2015, Katharine was based in Switzerland where she worked as an independent consultant for Deloitte, The Economist Intelligence Unit, the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, and the International Trade Center.
Katherine has a long exposure to Africa and working in the development sector is her passion.
What are your current responsibilities and what is a working day at the Microinsurance Network like?
I am the Executive Director of the Microinsurance Network. My job is to implement the Network’s strategic plan 2017-2022, which was endorsed by our members at the 2016 Annual General Meeting, and to ensure that the organisation itself is adequately funded. I manage a team of eight people coordinating, among other things, the publication of the State of Microinsurance and the World Map of Microinsurance, organising online Expert Forums and supporting international conferences. The Microinsurance Network also aims to organise two regional conferences per year, as well as co-organising Consultative Forums with insurance regulators and supervisors, in collaboration with Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii) and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).
Acting as the main interface between the microinsurance industry and the regulator is core to our role of bringing stakeholders together from across the entire value chain.
How is the Microinsurance Network involved in inclusive finance?
The Microinsurance Network promotes the development and delivery of effective risk management tools, such as insurance, for excluded people. In inclusive finance, a lot is about giving access to credit. But borrowers have to be insured in the event of disease or death for instance. In Africa, 80% of healthcare is paid out of pocket, leaving low income households terribly vulnerable. Further, there is also a need of protection for smallholder farmers in the case of crop failure.
What is your key interest in inclusive finance?
When you have access to finance, you can invest in your future. I am interested in financial education, financial literacy, and business education. Micro entrepreneurs need advice and mentoring to help them develop their businesses. Other challenges are the cost and regulation of remittances. It still costs a lot of money for migrants to send money to their home country.
For you, is inclusive finance a passion, job or learning experience?
It is all three: a passion, a job and a learning experience. I am new to the microinsurance sector and fully intend to learn as much as I can, as quickly as possible, about it. It is a new subject with new actors and stakeholders.
What is the biggest project you are currently handling?
The June Member Meeting, gathering Microinsurance Network members on the “Role of inclusive insurance in risk reduction” taking place on June 27-28 in Luxembourg, and the organisation of the next Board Meeting.
InFiNe.lu is the Luxembourg platform that brings together public, private and civil society actors involved in inclusive finance. The value of InFiNe.lu lies in the wide range of expertise characterised by the diversity of its members.
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Picture 1 © Pallab Seth