A New Frontier: Microinsurance: LeapFrog Investments

By McIntyre, Kris | International Trade Forum, April-June 2010 | Go to article overview

A New Frontier: Microinsurance: LeapFrog Investments


McIntyre, Kris, International Trade Forum


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With an increasing demand for market based solutions to poverty, innovative businesses like LeapFrog Investments have identified the opportunity to develop business models targeting low-income customers that are profitable, scalable and offer competitive returns for the major financial investors they are attracting.

Launched in 2008 by former United States President Bill Clinton, LeapFrog Investments is the world's first and largest microinsurance fund, investing in businesses that provide affordable insurance to low-income and vulnerable people in Africa and Asia.

With a focus on countries such as India, the Philippines, South Africa, Ghana and Kenya, LeapFrog targets strong returns for its investors by accessing the largely untapped microinsurance market, which a recent study by the insurance giant Lloyd's estimated to be 1.5 billion people in emerging markets.

There are currently 4 billion people classified as low-income with a total combined annual purchasing power of US$ 5 trillion, according to the International Finance Corporation (IFC). With only 135 million current microinsurance beneficiaries in the world, LeapFrog recognizes an enormous opportunity in a market that is only 9% saturated.

Through its portfolio companies, the fund aims to reach 25 million low-income and vulnerable people with essential financial services, alleviating poverty while generating robust returns for its investors.

'We can think big. We don't believe that this market requires a trade-off between profit and purpose. We believe each can harness and amplify the other, making for both commercially viable and high impact companies,' said LeapFrog Investments President and Founder, Andrew Kuper.

LeapFrog's profit-with-purpose approach has attracted leading investors including J.P. Morgan, the European Investment Bank, the IFC, KfW, Triodes Bank, ACCION International and the Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm of Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay.

'This profit-with-purpose fund is widely recognized as having opened up a new frontier in microfinance and alternative investment,' said former President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009.

The fund has a diversified investment strategy focused on high-growth emerging markets. LeapFrog considers three kinds of investments with a focus on quality, affordable and relevant products:

1. …

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