Telenor and MicroEnsure bring insurance to the masses in Asia.

Fornebu, 15 January - Today Telenor enters into a new joint venture with MicroEnsure, a leading provider of insurance products to more than four million people in Africa and Asia, to form "MicroEnsure Asia". MicroEnsure Asia has been established as a joint venture between Telenor Group and the UK based MicroEnsure Holdings Limited. MicroEnsure Asia will initially focus on introducing a range of insurance products to Telenor's business units in Asia as well as seeking to work with other mobile network operators and distribution partners in Asia and Eastern Europe. Studies show that less than 5% of the population in many Asian countries currently have any insurance, yet the low and middle income market face significant risks on a daily basis. By combining simplified products and rapid claims payment with the convenience of transacting over the mobile phone, MicroEnsure has rapidly reached millions of subscribers in Asia and Africa. "Our joint venture with MicroEnsure opens up an exciting new area for Telenor to develop, and gives access to insurance coverage for a whole new customer segment. MicroEnsure is a good match for Telenor. Their range of products reaches more than four million customers in Africa and Asia, and they have broad experience in low cost operations," said Abraham Foss, Head of Financial Services in Telenor. Financial Services is organized as a business division within Telenor Digital Services. MicroEnsure was established in 2008 as a subsidiary of Opportunity International, a non-profit microfinance organisation that provides financial products and services for those living in poverty in the developing world. MicroEnsure CEO, Richard Leftley commented that "Telenor is an exciting strategic partner for us given their strong footprint in especially the Asian region. There is significant interest from most mobile network operators to provide financial services and specifically insurance. This will enable MicroEnsure to continue its significant growth." Since 2008, MicroEnsure has expanded to provide insurance products to over four million active client across Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. In conjunction with this joint venture, MicroEnsure today announced that it has expanded its shareholder base to include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Omidyar Network and MicroEnsure management as strategic shareholders. This is done to provide the capital and relationships needed to continue the group's rapid expansion. Founding investor, Opportunity International US, will maintain a minority shareholding in the newly formed MicroEnsure Holdings Limited. For further information: MicroEnsure: David Dorey, Communication Manager tel: +44 1242 526 836 or Telenor: Atle Lessum, Head of communication Telenor Digital Services, tel +47 415 05 645, About MicroEnsure MicroEnsure is a specialist provider of insurance to the low and middle-income market with more than four million active clients in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. They provide a range of life, health, property and weather index products via a range of distribution partners that include microfinance companies, co-operatives and mobile network operators. The team at MicroEnsure started working on developing its model in 2002 and established itself as the Micro Insurance Agency in 2006, which was then renamed as MicroEnsure in 2008. For more information please visit This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients. The owner of this announcement warrants that: (i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and (ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein. Source: Telenor via Thomson Reuters ONE [HUG#1670448]