SKS MICROFINANCE LAUNCHES HEALTH INSURANCE FOR POOR IN ORISSA
Even as it reaches out to 2 lakh poor women with collateral-free loans
• Tie-up with ICICI Lombard for comprehensive Health Insurance
• Aim to cover 5 lac lives by 2009
• Roll out begins across 34 branches in 8 districts
• Unveils ambitious expansion plans for the year
Bhubaneshwar - 2008
SKS Microfinance, one of the fastest growing microfinance institutions in the world, is rolling out ‘Swayam Shakti Health Insurance’ in Orissa, even as it reached out to 2 lakh poor women with collateral-free loans in the State. SKS Microfinance has tied up with ICICI Lombard for this initiative. ‘Swayam Shakti Health Insurance’ will be offered across 31 branches of 8 districts of Orissa – Gunjam, Khurda, Nayagarh, Puri, Kokak, Bhenkal, Angul, Jagad and Hingpur.
‘Swayam Shakti Health Insurance’ is tailor made product for SKS members and covers the SKS member, member’s spouse and two children against pre-existing illnesses, maternity, more than 24-hour hospitalization and personal accident for a period of one year. The low-cost insurance cover offers both cashless and reimbursement options.
Announcing the launch, Mr K V Rao, Vice President, Member Services said, “While we have extended collateral-free loans to 2 lac women in Orissa, Swayam Shakti Health Insurance” is a step further in our attempt towards financial inclusion. When faced with a medical emergency, our members take loans with huge interest rates or sell their assets to pay medical bills. ‘Swayam Shakti Health Insurance’ will help members get easy access to quality healthcare with cashless options.”
In Orissa, SKS started operations in October, 2006 and has since disbursed Rs 243 crore as credit. Nearly 1 lac poor women in Bhubaneshwar area have accessed loans averaging Rs.8,270/- from SKS. The organization has 73 branches in Khordha, Ganjam, Bargarh, Mayurbhanj, Balangir, Puri, Sundargarh, Anugul, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Baleshwar, Dhenkanal, Kendujhar, Nayagarh, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghapur, Jajapur, Jharsuguda, Sonapur.
“By March 2009, SKS Microfinance plans to increase its network to 119 branches and cover 28 districts. Operations would be started in Gajapati, Ragada, Phulbani, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Deogarh, Bolangir, Nuapara, Kalahandi, Koraput and Nabrangpur in the coming months, “ Mr Rao added.
SKS uses a lending model that was developed by Nobel Prize winner, Muhummad Yunus of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The system involves forming groups of five women who serve as guarantors for each other, thus enabling SKS to provide loans without taking any collateral from borrowers.
Borrowers use loans largely for setting up trade followed by services, livestock and production. Returns on borrower enterprises average 100%, enabling them to earn income, build assets, and get out of poverty.