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The Landscape of Microinsurance in Africa

Briefing note nº1, ILO, 2009

Michal Matul, Michael J. McCord, Caroline Phily and Job Harms

Microinsurance is growing and expanding throughout Africa. Led by the ILO's Microinsurance Innovation Facility and the MicroInsurance Centre, this study identified over fourteen million low-income people in Africa who were covered by microinsurance at the end of 2008. The outreach almost doubled over the last 4 years.

Even with such growth, there are clearly significant gaps. Substantial parts of the continent remain almost barren of microinsurance. Health, agriculture and property covers, all significantly in need by the low-income market, are evident as a mere fraction of life insurance coverage. This study provides a detailed picture of microinsurance in Africa and discusses challenges in the years to come in order to facilitate broader, high-quality expansion.

Read Briefing note nº1

Microinsurance that Works for Women: Making Microinsurance Programs Gender-Sensitive

Briefing note nº2, ILO, 2009

Anjali Banthia, Susan Johnson, Michael J. McCord, Brandon Mathews

Led by the Women's World Banking and the Zurich Insurance Company, this research is intended to generate discussion of a gendered approach to microinsurance. While insurance companies are beginning to design and deliver a variety of products to the poor, the paper focuses primarily on health and life insurance because these two risks typically are reported to exert significant financial pressure on poor women.

The authors explore how health and life microinsurance could be designed to more effectively respond to women's needs, and offer practical advice to insurance companies for delivering such schemes. They conclude with a call to action for insurance companies, delivery channels, researchers and donors to make insurance more gender-sensitive, which will serve the dual mission of poverty alleviation and profitability.

Read Briefing note nº2

Also see Microinsurance Note n°3

Insurance against Losses from Natural Disasters in Developing Countries

This paper, published by the UN - Department of Economic and Social Affairs, examines the recent experience with insurance and other risk-financing instruments in developing countries in order to gain insights into their effectiveness in reducing economic insecurity.

Insurance and other risk financing strategies are viewed as efforts to recover from negative in-come shocks through risk pooling and transfer. Specific examples of public-private insurance programs for households, business-firms, and governments are described, highlighting their limitations, especially in light of the post-Katrina experience in the United States. It examines arguments both in support of and in opposition to donor and public involvement in provision of subsidized insurance in developing countries.

Click here to download paper