A heart full of gratitude

 “Some of the exercises were rather confrontational for the SERINSA employees. But you felt their desire to learn.” 


Christine Léonard and Dirk Van Liempt are in full agreement that it was an enriching experience. In March 2018, they travelled to Nicaragua for an assignment with BRS partner SERINSA. Christine works as a Claims Advisor for CBC Assurances and speaks Spanish fluently. Dirk is the CEO of ADD, a subsidiary of KBC Insurance. Before they went on the BRS mission together, they had never met. And they only knew BRS remotely.

A duo with a mission 

Christine: “In 2015, REDCAMIF, an association of 141 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Central America, established SERINSA.” 

Dirk: “SERINSA was tasked with supporting the MFIs of this network in the sale of microinsurance, among other things by organising training courses, offering user-friendly IT applications and presenting new products.” 

Christine: “Our mission was to have a look into the operation of this organisation, together with Jacques De Raeymaeker, President of the BRS Institute, and BRS employee Tom Geladé.” 

Dirk: “The audit came at the request of ADA, a Luxembourg partner of BRS, which works together with SERINSA. They found that SERINSA does very well in Nicaragua, but less so in the surrounding countries. The idea was that a screening process would provide more insight into this.” 

Talk a lot and listen a whole lot more

Christine: “We reviewed a number of reports in advance. And on site, we talked extensively with the four permanent staff members and the members of SERINSA’s Board of Directors.” 

Dirk: “And with the managers of the MFIs of REDCAMIF, who must support SERINSA. This is important because our background is very different from the context over there. Only by talking - and listening! - do you get an idea of the real needs. And can you engage in dialogue.” 


Christine: “We worked very interactively. Starting out with specific questions, SERINSA employees in small groups first thought about, for example, better service provision. They put forward suggestions themselves and then we all discussed those suggestions together.” 

Dirk: “It became clear that a few workshops with the members of the Board of Directors were needed. These people are highly committed and have tons of experience in microcredits. But there was no clear plan of attack for the sale of microinsurance.” 

More than just sales figures 

Christine: “We also worked on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). KPIs are an instrument of ADA and BRS that measures not only the economic performance but also the social performance.” 

Dirk: “The latter proved to be something of a sticking point. Despite committed texts about their social mission and vision, they approach the sale of microinsurance rather commercially. And for BRS, the social component of microinsurance is at least as important as the financial one.” 

A heart that overflows

Christine: “Some of the exercises were rather confrontational for them. But you felt their desire to learn. And there was trust. Personal contact, also outside the sessions, definitely helps: eating together, having a drink, chatting and discussing.” 

Dirk: “And a lot of laughs together, of course! This also helped us as a BRS team to work together intensively for a week. Together we formed a strong whole. I felt a connection that made me want to remain involved in BRS more than ever.” 

Christine: “It was a tough challenge, but also an incredibly rich and enriching experience. I came back with a heart full of gratitude!”