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Virtual Roundtable Series on COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts #11 - Insuring SMEs  

04 June 2020
8 : 00
9 : 15
Virtual Roundtable Series on COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts #11 - Insuring SMEs  

By invitation only

One of the many financial instruments available – insurance – is a central aspect of any risk management strategy. In times of unexpected events, insurance coverage seems to be the most obvious solution to protect business sustainability. However, for SMEs, unlike for large corporates, time and cost associating with acquiring an insurance protection plan could act as a deterrent against doing so, creating a huge risk gap. COVID-19 has unleashed a myriad of unprecedented risks and liabilities that make insurance a necessity. Furthermore, the insurance gap is more accentuated in the women-led SME segment, making the financial inclusion of women even more difficult to achieve, especially in light of the pandemic.

On Thursday, June 4, 2020, at 8 a.m. EDT, senior representatives from Euler Hermes (a global leader in trade credit insurance), Insular Life Insurance (the largest Filipino life insurance company), Bajaj Allianz (India’s leading private general insurance company), and Hokodo (a tech company providing financing and insurance to SMEs in Europe), together with IFC’s executives, will explain the role of insurance in serving SMEs in general, with special focus on women-led SMEs, and how they are serving this segment during the pandemic. 

About COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable Series
In times of crisis, accurate and timely information is key. Sharing knowledge and practical experience are proven forms of investment that pave the path to success. With the purpose of helping our members build their own knowledge advantage, the SME Finance Forum facilitates activities and learning opportunities with the strategic approach of collecting and disseminating the best practices, while connecting SME finance experts and practitioners within our global network. Starting in late March, the Forum hosts weekly virtual roundtable sessions focusing on mitigation efforts used to cope with COVID-19, sharing those experiences in a continuous and real-time basis. Learn more>

What you will learn

  • The role of insurance in SME financing; 
  • How insurance companies serve SMEs; 
  • Specific strategies catered to women-led SMEs;
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the way insurance companies serving SMEs.

•    Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum


Susan Holliday is a Senior advisor at IFC. Susan is part of the financial institutions group at IFC. She acts as an expert on investments and advisory work in insurance, both mature companies, and insurtech, in developing countries. She has over 30 years’ experience in insurance in a variety of different roles, as a board member and an advisor to Eos Venture Fund and several start-ups. Prior to joining IFC, Susan worked at Swiss Re, where she was a Managing Director and Head of Strategy for the reinsurance business worldwide and a member of the executive team. In this capacity she worked on all aspects of life and health and property-casualty re/insurance; headed a global team; and led the strategy work for emerging markets and for Fintech. Susan also held the positions of CFO of Reinsurance Client Markets and Head of Investor Relations at Swiss Re. Before Swiss Re, Susan worked in equity research and equity sales covering the insurance industry at UBS, JP Morgan, and Paribas. Susan is a UK Chartered Accountant, a member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Insurers.

Henriette Kolb is the Head of the Gender Department at the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. She serves as an advocate for gender equality issues in the private sector and works with IFC’s clients to include both women and men as entrepreneurs, employees, consumers, community stakeholders and leaders. She leads a global team that is engaged in co-creating gender-smart private sector solutions through research, investments, advice, and peer learning platforms. Before joining IFC in September 2013, Henriette was the CEO of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, where she remains involved as a senior advisor. Earlier in her career, Henriette was the UN representative in the Middle East Quartet team advising Tony Blair in Jerusalem. She also worked for the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO). She has held positions as governance advisor with the European Commission Delegation to Tanzania, the German Technical Cooperation Agency in Germany, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Tanzania, where she worked on conflict reduction, civic education, and socioeconomic issues in East Africa. Henriette graduated with an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and received her MA from Freiburg University, Germany. She is also a Harvard Kennedy School Women in Public Policy Program fellow (2018).  Henriette is a Bucerius and Hertie summer school alumna and a frequent contributor to blogs hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Huffington Post, and Business Fights Poverty.


About the speakers

Charles Ruelle is Chief Innovation Officer and Co-head of Euler Hermes Digital Agency, the Innovation Arm of Euler Hermes Group, that leverage new technologies to reinvent credit insurance and explore new business models in trade finance. Previously, he was entrepreneur from 2005 to 2010, and then co-created Etalab, the French Prime Minister's task force for Open Data. As CTO, Charles built the French open data platform: data.gouv.fr to make easily and freely accessible French data. Charles was also Board Member at Hello Tomorrow Challenge, an international challenge open to science & technology innovators.


Cristina delos Santos is the Head of eCommerce and Product Portfolio at Insular Life Assurance Co, Ltd (InLife) which the oldest and biggest Filipino insurance company in the Philippines. In her role, Tina Delos Santos oversees the development of insurance products that the company introduces to the market, as well as the establishment of InLife’s eCommerce presence and business.  Her professional career spans positions in banks and telecoms and extensive exposure to the function of end-to-end product management and development.  Tina was also a practitioner of analytics-based marketing and campaign management.  


T A Ramalingam is the Chief Technical Officer for Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. In his current role, he is responsible for managing motor & non-motor underwriting, claims, risk management, and re-insurance for the organisation. Prior to this, he handled company’s distribution channels and strategic tie-ups as Chief Distribution Officer for institutional sales. In his earlier roles, he has guided and lead teams to create efficient claims management processes that were critical enablers for delivering superior customer experience during claims. As a result, today Bajaj Allianz General Insurance is known in the Indian insurance industry for its best turnaround time in claims management. Rama started his career in the banking industry and has a total work experience of over two decades in the insurance industry. He started his career with a prominent national insurer wherein he handled various operational areas including marketing, claims, and reinsurance. He is a Post Graduate in Commerce and an Associate of Insurance Institute of India.


Richard Thornton is the co-founder of Hokodo, a business which protects SMEs against the risk that their customers fail to pay them for goods or services offered on credit terms. Hokodo's products are designed to be integrated into the technology platforms that SMEs use day-to-day. For example, Hokodo's Invoice Protection solution integrates into cloud accounting platforms so that business owners can protect an invoice as it is being created. The business employs around 20 staff, working out of offices in London and Paris. Prior to founding Hokodo, Richard spent 14 years working at Oliver Wyman, consulting to insurers across Europe, and 4 years working at Aspen, a Bermdudian specialty (re)insurer, where he served as Group CRO and Group COO. 


A blog summary will be posted soon here.

For more information: please contact: Khrystyna Kushnir.



Covid-19SME Insurance