We want small business owners to sign up for insurance that they trust so that they are protected from risk.

FSD Zambia
Hollard Insurance


Making MSME business owners more resilient

In Zambia, only 1% of micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) owners have insurance. With irregular and inconsistent incomes and a high number of dependents, these business owners can easily fall back into poverty, due to inadequate financial products to assist in building resilience for risk exposures beyond their control. FSD Zambia funded a product design sprint to support Hollard Life Zambia, a local insurance company interested in moving down-market to increase their financial services depth and market penetration. Can MSME owners be convinced that purchasing an insurance product is beneficial for the growth of their business?

Building off quantitative research conducted by FSD Zambia and Hollard, 17 Triggers stepped in to develop a persona for the selected market segments. Spending time talking with the target audience revealed that they did not trust insurance or see value in it due to the lack of tangible benefits.

Irregular cash flow made payments difficult and tough times really set these business owners back. Existing insurance products were viewed as expensive and complicated. They did not address the worries of these business owners and this showed a clear product gap in the market.

Team conducts a Vision of Perfect workshop with key stakeholders.

Providing real value for the customer

The team spent a week building and testing product features, iterating while in the field and validating value propositions with users. The business owners were drawn to products that made benefits tangible through features such as cash back for no claims. The most popular product features built trust by encouraging users to make “small claims” and allowed them to experience the value of insurance. We learnt to structure products around the risks that mattered most to the business owners, all while keeping the product simple, affordable and flexible.

Three products emerged as clear winners – an income protection that covers business owners from the big to small risks, a saving and insurance all-in-one coaching tool focusing on school fee payment for children’s education, and a collective insurance inspired by the social fund contribution in saving groups. Powered with these product recommendations and human centered design learning from the sprint, Hollard went on to launch their first microinsurance product in the Zambian market, protecting MSME owners and giving them a better chance to grow their business.

Surfacing consumer insights with shopkeepers.