Economic growth in Bangladesh has averaged more than 6 percent over the last decade, which has helped lift per capita income, reduce poverty, and improve social indicators such as those for maternal mortality and gender disparity in education. Much of this progress has been driven by the growing participation of women in the labor force, which has risen from 4 percent in 1974 to over 36 percent in 2019. In the garment industry, which accounts for approximately 11 percent of Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP), women comprised the majority of the 4.4 million workforce prior to COVID-19.
Despite the economic growth in Bangladesh, the insurance penetration ratea remains exceptionally low. As noted in the government’s 7th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020), the majority of Bangladeshis are underserved by both the life and non-life insurance sectors. For 2018, the overall insurance penetration rate was only 0.57 percent—the lowest of all emerging Asian countries. According to Lloyd’s, Bangladesh is the world’s most underinsured country.