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Solutions at hand

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

Maribel Torcatt Cofundadora de FUNDEFIR

Fundefir provides microfinance solutions for people with lower incomes. For his insurance proposal, he won the Social Innovation award from the Mapfre Foundation.

Despite having spent around 20 years devising and conceiving measures and products that mitigate poverty, there was a phrase that made it clear to them what the approach should be when presenting their proposal to the Mapfre Foundation's Social Innovation awards, and it was an idea that they heard in an African country: "There are many families who are facing a bill, a disability, an illness or a discomfort, of falling into poverty."

It seems simple, but it is a harsh reality for many in the world. What the two Venezuelan creators of Fundefir say is that eventually the most vulnerable families live from day to day and anything that interrupts that daily production (something as elementary as a disability of a few days) can plunge a person into a debt of the one that is not going to get away so easily.

“In 2015 we did a study on the way some of the families we serve consume and we found that a high percentage of the budget is spent on things that add little value to their economy: games, alcohol, sweets, soft drinks. We understood that there was money but that it was used for those things, ”explains Salomón Raydan, one of the Venezuelans behind this initiative.

Fundefir has made it possible for vulnerable people to access insurance without considering it a luxury expense.

At the same time, they understood that families do not consume in this way only because of irresponsibility or lack of financial education, but that behind this consumption there were large companies that for years had made a sustained and creative effort to design suitable products and develop specialized marketing channels. .

That was the challenge: how to create forms of responsible consumption, starting from the principle of offering financial products available to any family. And in the company of Maribel Torcatt, his partner and co-founder of Fundefir, they designed a series of products for people with low purchasing power, which cover from specialized medical services to a range of insurance, including unemployment, life and even funeral. That was the product that earned them the award: the BK Club.

Solutions at hand

One of the presentations for one of the “semifinals” of the contest with Mapfre started with that idea: how much do funeral expenses cost for a loved one? In Latin America they can be perfectly around US $ 1,000. How much time can a family spend paying off that debt? Surely several years.

So, although this type of insurance is traditionally identified as luxury or not-so-necessary items, part of Fundefir's job is to convince consumers of its products that they are neither luxurious nor unaffordable. And they can be as necessary as a life preserver.

This is how they were able to defend it in front of the jury of the Mapfre Social Innovation contest, which awarded them US $ 30,000 that will be invested in the development of an app that facilitates consumption and access to services, in addition to investing in the preparation and training of women advisors of the commercialization of these products, who also play a fundamental role in spreading the benefits of the BK Club.

After a first selection process, Fundefir had already been chosen in May as one of the finalist projects by the Hispanic countries of Latin America, where it would defend its Bk Club project, against other participants from other regions (Europe and Brazil). in a final "eliminatory" in Madrid, headquarters of the Mapfre Foundation.

In the judges' opinion, the BK Clubs are important as a social innovation for all the economic and social benefits they bring. And, although it is not the primary purpose, it must be considered that this type of product is a hook for insurers, which may develop an undervalued commercial vein so far. One of the objectives in the medium term is to articulate all this effort with insurance companies that can also support and win on your side. Raydan and Torcatt insist on the social value of insurance, beyond the premium and the business that underlies it all. Protecting families generates financial well-being and will automatically improve living conditions. Also, because it is not microinsurance, because it is not a small amount that results in a small contribution; they are full-fledged safe offering protection and a safety net when needed.

Additionally, as a hook there is a version of these BK Club for Migrants, who may be some of the beneficiaries who most require this type of aid. Somehow this is still a social work of ag

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