The Universal Postal Union (UPU) and AXA Join Forces to Advance Inclusive Insurance through Postal Networks

  • Over 1.5 billion people worldwide – approximately 28% of the global adult population – access financial services through postal networks
  • 53% of post offices in the world provide insurance, a critical financial service to strengthen the resilience of low-income individuals faced with irregular and unpredictable levels of revenue
  • UPU and AXA sign a partnership to scale inclusive insurance through postal networks globally, starting with joint research, followed by technical assistance programs

Postal networks play a crucial role in global financial inclusion, with over a quarter of the world’s adult population accessing formal financial services through their post office. This is possible because postal networks combine last-mile distribution reach with strong customer trust, thereby reaching very remote populations most other networks do not extend to, including those working in the informal economy. Posts have traditionally focused on payments and savings, and today insurance is generating a growing interest and shows great promise. In 2021, 53% of posts offered insurance, up from 38% in 2016.[1]

Through AXA Emerging Customers, the Group’s inclusive insurance business, AXA provides affordable, accessible, and attractive insurance solutions to over 14 million people and micro-businesses[2] by leveraging physical and digital distribution channels that target these lower income classes, have scaled and penetrated networks, as well as trusted brand names. Initially focused on emerging markets, AXA Emerging Customers is extending its geographical scope to Europe to bring inclusive insurance solutions to lower to middle income households and small businesses facing purchasing power and social protection challenges.

“Inclusive insurance is at the heart of AXA’s new #UnlockTheFuture strategic plan, with an ambition to protect over 20 million customers around the world by 2026. Through this partnership with the Universal Postal Union, AXA reiterates its solid commitment to push the boundaries of insurance to better protect all”, said George Stansfield, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of AXA.  

 “This collaboration with AXA comes at a pivotal moment for the UPU as we work more closely with private sector partners to exchange knowledge, innovate, and ensure that postal financial services become more inclusive to meet the needs of customers. Capitalizing on the UPU’s expansive network of postal operators and AXA’s expertise, this partnership helps lay the groundwork for a flourishing and inclusive postal insurance sector”, said Masahiko Metoki, Director General of the Universal Postal Union. 

This two-phased partnership between UPU and AXA will begin in Q2 2024 with a research program showcasing successful postal insurance models around the world to provide posts and insurers with insights and best practices.

Building on this research and its actionable conclusions, UPU and AXA will work together to establish the Postal Insurance Technical Assistance Facility (PITAF). PITAF will aim to provide local posts with both technical and financial support to avail, expand or diversify inclusive insurance schemes. Capitalizing on the UPU’s postal network and AXA’s insurance expertise, PITAF will help promote financial inclusion and risk mitigation amongst underserved populations.

“AXA strongly believes that Posts are ideally positioned to catalyse accessible, attractive, and affordable protection to underserved low-to-middle income individuals and small businesses. This collaboration with UPU is a new brick in AXA’s ambition to join forces on inclusive insurance with Posts worldwide.” said Garance Wattez-Richard, CEO of AXA Emerging Customers.

“This collaboration with AXA to enable inclusive postal insurance products, solutions and associated operating models is part of the UPU’s commitment to facilitating financial inclusion for the world’s underserved citizens. It also recognises the importance of partnerships in driving change. The UPU’s reach and role as the postal sector’s primary forum for international cooperation will provide AXA with pertinent insights on the inclusive insurance needs and requirements of postal customers whilst AXA’s inclusive insurance expertise and innovation will help enhance postal network capabilities including its service offerings,” said Siva Somasundram, UPU Director for Policy, Regulation and Markets.