In West Africa, two million families are now protected by an innovative and advantageous loan life insurance product. This product was developed by the Confederation of Financial Institutions of West Africa (CIF) and its six member networks of financial cooperatives, including the PAMÉCAS network in Senegal, in collaboration with Développement international Desjardins (DID) and Desjardins Financial Security (DFS).

The procedure introduced has borrowers make automatic payments into an insurance plan that covers the balance of their loan in the event of death or permanent disability. Should such a tragedy occur, loan life insurance can make all the difference for the borrower’s loved ones. This is particularly true for women who, all too often, find themselves in a very vulnerable position.

This was the case for the Diongue family. The mother of the household, Mané Diongue, took out a loan of 4,000,000 CFA francs (CAN $7,500) with the MECZOG savings and credit cooperative, which is affiliated with the PAMÉCAS network, in order to open a jewellery store and provide a living for her family. Unfortunately, she had a fatal accident.

This tragedy left her daughter Binetou in an extremely difficult situation. The family had no source of income, they were concerned about repayment of the balance of the loan and funeral expenses were considerable. Fortunately, when employees from the MECZOG cooperative came to present their condolences to the family, they informed Binetou that her mother had taken out a life insurance policy on her loan and that her debt would be erased rather than transferred to her family. In addition, a sum of 100,000 CFA francs (CAN $185) would be paid to the family to cover funeral expenses. Binetou was even able to recover the savings that her mother had deposited with the cooperative.

The young girl was saved from a desperate situation. She was able to mourn her loss in peace and keep the business in which her mother had invested so much.

The loan life insurance product introduced in West Africa enables individuals to borrow in a secure manner and thereby encourages them to start a business. It also allows financial institutions to make their loan terms more flexible since the loan is insured against various types of risk. This is a win-win solution that benefits both the loan institution and the borrower, making it a product with great added value.

The Confederation of Financial Institutions of West Africa and its six affiliated institutions, including PAMÉCAS in Senegal, are founding members of Proxfin, an international network of thirty community finance institutions that cover 24 developing or emerging countries and are all DID partners. Thanks to Proxfin, which seeks to share innovations and best practices, the loan life insurance product can now be deployed around the world and protect millions of additional families.