Emerging Insights

For more information about microinsurance, check out the ILO's Emerging Insights, which provide bite-sized lessons from microinsurance practitioners about various themes including distribution, client value, product design and others.   Be sure to check out the latest edition of the ILO's Emerging Insights at the link above featuring one of our latest MILK project papers and also Barbara Magnoni and EA Consultants! 


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ILO's Microinsurance Innovation Facility Annual Report 2013 ILO's Microinsurance Innovation Facility Annual Report 2013

Published: 03/28/2014
Author: International Labour Office Microinsurance Innovation Facility


In this annual report, we review the dramatic shift in microinsurance that has taken place over the last 6 years, from the beginning of 2008 to the end of 2013. The ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility has both contributed to these changes, and adapted to them. Part 1 provides an overview of the last 6 years. Parts 2 and 3 respond to the two key questions currently facing the industry: how and whether microinsurance can be viable (Part 2), and offer value to clients (Part 3). Achieving viability and client value are not just questions for individual organizations. In Part 4 we explore the need to develop countries’ microinsurance markets, and outline our plans for the next 5 years. The annexes list our innovation grants and strategic partners (Annex I), knowledge products (Annex II), and capacity-building activities (Annex III). Annex IV gives details of the Facility’s team.


El panorama de los microseguros en América Latina y el Caribe El panorama de los microseguros en América Latina y el Caribe

Published: 03/14/2014
Author: Michael J. McCord, Molly Ingram and Clémence Tatin-Jaleran


El presente estudio es el primer estudio cuantitativo panorámico sobre los microseguros en América Latina y el Caribe. Gran parte del conocimiento sobre los microseguros proviene de información de estudios de caso de países o de empresas. A pesar de que estos documentos pueden ser informativos a nivel de las entidades, generan poca información sobre la industria de los microseguros en su conjunto. Esto dificulta la identificación de deficiencias, brechas y tendencias de los productos, cobertura e industria. Entender las tendencias puede ayudar a que los participantes o interesados en el sector aprovechen este conocimiento para que a través de sus actividades subsanen las deficiencias, introduzcan cambios positivos y redireccionen áreas que no están funcionando adecuadamente, así como para entender las tendencias vinculadas a factores reglamentarios o macroeconómicos. En efecto, los mercados tradicionales de los países desarrollados siguen regularmente las tendencias de los mismos como un mecanismo para generar información clave de mercados.

Esta documento ofrece un resumen de los resultados del estudio panorámico de ALC con respecto a las vidas cubiertas y los productos ofrecidos en la región. Además, discute el crecimiento y los canales de distribución y también la regulación y el mercado.



Published: 03/01/2014
Author: Tyler Tappendorf, Camyla Fonseca, Zani Muller, Jeremy Gray, Saima Zafar, Mia Thom , José Miguel Solana and Pranav Prashad
Scale: Thinking Big - Case Studies outlines the eight in depth case studies included in Scale: Thinking Big. The case studies include: AVBOB (South Africa), CLIS/Malayan (Philippines), Casas Bahia/MAPFRE (Brazil), Hollard/Edcon (South Africa), Protecta (Peru), Tigo (Ghana) and BISP Waseela (Pakistan) and NAIS (India)


Published: 03/01/2014
Author: Mia Thom, Jeremy Gray, Zani Müller and Jeremy Leach

Achieving scale was found to be one of the success factors for profitable microinsurance schemes; however to achieve scale is difficult. M. Thom, J. Gray, M. Müller, and J. Leach reviewed microinsurance initiatives that have achieved scale  to identify and understand their trends and drivers in scale. Scale: Thinking Big analysed 95 initiatives that achieved scale and evaluated 8 case studies in detail to understand what drives scale. 


Published: 03/01/2014
Author: Janice Angove and Aparna Dalal


Business Case for Microinsurance Part ll: Follow-up Study on the Profitability of Microinsurance investigates whether corrective measures implemented by insurers that were facing challenges with profitability have been successful over the longer term. Authored by J. Angove, and A. Dalal, this paper follows the financial experience of six insurers over three years (2009-2012), looking at changes to some of their microinsurance initiatives and providing new insights into drivers of profitability.


Implementing a Participatory Model of Micro Health Insurance among Rural Poor with Evidence from Nepal Implementing a Participatory Model of Micro Health Insurance among Rural Poor with Evidence from Nepal

Published: 01/09/2014
Author: David M. Dror, Atanu Majumdar, Predeep Panda, Denny John, and Ruth Koren

In countries where governments can neither mandate contributory universal health coverage (UHC) nor subsidise its full cost, one of the great challenges is reducing private out-of -pocket expenditure (OPE) for health care payable at the point and time of service.  This inequitable and inefficient health financing mechanism persists in many low-income countries.  In Nepal, the third poorest country in Asia, OPE represents around 72 percent of total health-care costs.  The World Health Organization proposes the introduction of prepayment and risk pooling as a way to solve this problem.  This paper addresses the question whether and how it is possible to operate sustainable health insurance in the informal sector in rural Nepal without premium subsidies, and what useful role communities can play in the self-governance of their insurance.  

The Emergence and Development of Agriculture Microinsurance The Emergence and Development of Agriculture Microinsurance

Published: 12/09/2013
Author: Thérèse Sandmark, Jean-Christophe Debar, and Clémence Tatin-Jaleran


The discussion paper, published by the Network Agriculture Insurance Working Group, reviews the current state of agricultural insurance markets in the world, and the recent developments which have seen the increase of index-based insurance schemes. A discussion about the actors involved in the provision of these insurance contracts, integrating recent literature covering this topic, underlines what can be learned about the value of these products.

Four case studies - in Brazil, Morocco, Senegal, and China - describe different country examples and compare their approaches to developing agriculture insurance, focusing on the value proposition of each system.

The conclusion highlights the main lessons that can be drawn from the implementation of agricultural insurance in the world, in view of promoting its expansion in less-developed countries.

The paper, published by the Microinsurance Network, was funded by the BMZ in collaboration with GIZ with support from Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation, the Foundation for World Agriculture and Rurality (FARM), and ADA


CHMI:  Highlights 2013 CHMI: Highlights 2013

Published: 12/06/2013
Author: Center for Health Market Innovations(CHMI)


The Highlights: 2013 report includes: 

  • Observations on health markets from the past year: Innovators are responding to some of the most significant global health threats—tuberculosis, malaria, and maternal mortality—with new approaches to deliver and finance life-saving care for the poorest and most vulnerable. We have reviewed these innovative practices as well as the evidence behind them (see Highlights page 20).
  • A chapter on supply chain innovations: Programs are working to ensure the most remote communities get access to quality medications to combat these and other health threats (see Highlights page 25).
  • Observations on microinsurance partnerships with governments: You can read more about the linkages between microinsurance and governments in the report, as well as the paper we released earlier this year: Leveraging Health Microinsurance to Promote Universal Health Coverage. 
  • Stories about how CHMI connects innovators to growth opportunities around the world: Over the past year, we have increasingly focused on connecting health programs with mentors, funders, technical experts, and policymakers who can help them expand and improve on their work. These efforts have enabled the creation of new partnerships worth millions of dollars and have helped programs expand their services to an additional 1.6 million people (see Highlights page 36).



Published: 12/02/2013
Author: Thérèse Sandmark, Jean-Christophe Debar & Clémence Tatin-Jaleran


Le présent document offre un panorama des
évolutions et débats actuels entourant le secteur
de l’assurance agricole sur les marchés
émergents avec un accent particulier sur les
enjeux spécifiques des produits d’assurance


Towards De-risking Disasters:  Taking stock of microinsurance for disaster risk reduction-Index based microinsurance in South and South East Asia Towards De-risking Disasters: Taking stock of microinsurance for disaster risk reduction-Index based microinsurance in South and South East Asia

Published: 12/01/2013
Author: Sunil Bhat and Premasis Mukherjee


Index-based disaster insurance products are a new approach in disaster insurance,
reducing the transaction cost and justifying entry of insurers to develop disaster
coverage, even for low-income people. In index insurance, substantial variation
of a well-monitored natural parameter, such as rainfall, wind-speed, temperature
or humidity, is considered as a proxy for the actual loss. To design these products,
historical trends of change in the parameter are matched with the corresponding
crop or economic loss so that a minute variation in the parameter will indicate a
corresponding potential loss caused by the event.


Microinsurance Paper No 26:  Mobile Phones and Microinsurance Microinsurance Paper No 26: Mobile Phones and Microinsurance

Published: 11/29/2013
Author: Pranav Prashad, David Saunders and Aparna Dalal



The ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility has recently released a new Microinsurance Paper titled 'Mobile phones and microinsurance'.


Insurers are using mobile phones to address two main challenges facing the microinsurance sector: increasing efficiency and reaching scale. Authored by P. Prashad, D. Saunders & A. Dalal, this paper is based on a review of literature and 13 insurance schemes that are using mobile phones in some capacity. The review reveals good practices and lessons for insurers to consider when implementing mobile-based microinsurance.


Building supervisory capacity to create inclusive insurance markets in the Pacific Building supervisory capacity to create inclusive insurance markets in the Pacific

Published: 11/12/2013
Author: Russell Leith and Ramanathan Subramanian

In the Pacific, insurance penetration is extremely low and generally only held by large companies and wealthy individuals. The largest proportion of the population; those who are most vulnerable to shocks and who suffer the most if they occur, do not have access to any insurance products – at least not yet.

If we are to overcome poverty, we will need to strengthen the ability of the most vulnerable to stand on their own feet; to take charge of their own destiny. This is what will make or break a success in development. Sustainable and real results can only be achieved when people themselves are put in a position where they can take charge of their own development process. This illustrates the need for
insurance within the overall development scenario.

As donors, it is important we create opportunities and choices for people. This is where insurance plays a key role. Insurance allows individuals and families to continue to have choices and opportunities in life also when unexpected events happen. It acts as a safety net for families, which in times of a crisis provides them with the much-needed funds to re-establish their lives and llivelihoods. Therefore, to achieve sustainable development it is critical to expand the access to insurance to the large segment of uninsured population.

Microinsurance in Asia and Oceania Grows by 40% Microinsurance in Asia and Oceania Grows by 40%

Published: 11/06/2013
Author: Press Release

 According to new research released by the Munich Re Foundationand GIZ,the microinsurance sector in Asia and Oceania has reached 172millionlives and properties covered, representinga40% annual growth rate between 2010 and 2012.India is leading the market at over 100 million, whilstMalaysiaandIndonesiaemerge as having the most vibrant microinsurance markets with agrowth rate of 185% and over 100% respectively,over the same time period.1


Landscape of Microinsurance in Asia and Oceania Landscape of Microinsurance in Asia and Oceania

Published: 11/01/2013
Author: MicroSave

This briefing note summmarizes preliminary finding of the "The Landscape in Microinsurance in Aisia and Oceania" study to be discusses during the 9th International Microinsurance Conference.

The Study complements " The lanscape of Microinsurance in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean" published in 2012 and completes the "World Map of Microinsurance." 

Results amd data are subject to clarification and discussion over the coming months. The final report is expected to be published by May 2014.

Leveraging Health Microinsurance to Promote Universal Health Coverage Leveraging Health Microinsurance to Promote Universal Health Coverage

Published: 09/30/2013
Author: Meredith Kimball, Caroline Phily, Amanda Folsom,

This paper reviews country experiences in Cambodia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Thailand, Tanzania and the Philippines. It examines the hypothesis that government-sponsored insurance initiatives should collaborate with private actors to accelerate the expansion of health insurance to informal workers and their families.




The Landscape of Microinsurance in Latin America and the Caribbean The Landscape of Microinsurance in Latin America and the Caribbean

Published: 09/30/2013
Author: Michael J. McCord, Molly Ingram and Clémence Tatin-Jaleran

The microinsurance sector in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has recently experienced tremendous growth in life and accident coverage as well as a notable increase in products covering multiple risks. Despite some significant initiatives, primary health and property microinsurance coverage remains extremely limited. In the eleven countries for which previous data was available, the total number of people and properties identified as covered by microinsurance grew by 125% over the six years from 2005 through the end of 2011. Within the region, the five largest microinsurance markets - Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador - remain dominant, as these countries account for 90% of all microinsurance coverage in LAC.

Microinsurance Paper No 24- Microcare Insurance Uganda-Case Study Microinsurance Paper No 24- Microcare Insurance Uganda-Case Study

Published: 09/20/2013
Author: Lucas Greyling

Microcare originated out of a desire to find more effective ways to provide low-income communities with access to better quality healthcare. Pre-paid healthcare offered an opportunity to accumulate and channel resources so that poor people would get cashless access to healthcare services and service providers would benefit from better cash flows. Microcare opted to establish a regulated insurer, Microcare Insurance Limited (MIL), as a subsidiary of the health company, Microcare Health Limited (MHL), in order to access the international reinsurance market and to comply with Ugandan law.
Before Microcare came onto the scene in Uganda pre-paid healthcare products could only be obtained from two health management organizations (HMOs). HMOs were technically subject to the Uganda Insurance Act, but they argued that health insurance was sufficiently different from general property insurance to require separate regulatory treatment. They therefore refused to comply, pending the introduction of more specific legislation. This position remained unchallenged by the insurance regulator, creating an uneven playing field for MIL.
This case study examines the factors which contributed to both the success and failure of Microcare as a provider of health microinsurance. It seeks to draw lessons from Microcare’s experience that will further the development of a more successful business model for health microinsurance.

Learning from Lemons: The Role of Government in Index Insurance for Individuals Learning from Lemons: The Role of Government in Index Insurance for Individuals

Published: 09/19/2013
Author: Daniel Clarke and Liam Wren-Lewis


This paper considers the potential role of government in aiding the scale-up of high quality index insurance products in developing countries. In particular, we analyse optimal public policy in light of the fact that index insurance policies are typically credence goods - that is, the basis risk of a given policy cannot be distinguished by consumers before purchase and only to a limited extent after purchase. We discuss two potential market failures that stem from this property that governments may seek to correct: low takeup and low investment in reducing basis risk. In each case, we consider the costs and benefits of various alternative government policies. We show that policies aimed to improve take-up may improve or worsen incentives for investment, and that the precise nature of these effects will depend on the government’s ability to commit, the marginal cost of funds, and their potential to identify the inputs necessary for constructing a high quality index.


MILK Brief #24: "Doing the Math" - Health Insurance and Chronic Disease in Nigeria MILK Brief #24: "Doing the Math" - Health Insurance and Chronic Disease in Nigeria

Published: 08/05/2013
Author: Laura Budzyna, Taara Chandani and Barbara Magnoni

In this MILK brief, the MicroInsurance Centre’s MILK Project Client Math team partnered with Hygeia Community Health Care (a collaborative effort among the PharmAccess Foundation, the Health Insurance Fund, and the Nigerian HMO and hospital network, Hygeia Nigeria Limited) to analyze the value of its product for clients with chronic disease, specifically hypertension. HCHC seeks to facilitate better health outcomes for low-income families in Lagos by reducing health care costs and improving the quality of care.

We found that HCHC clients use preventative hypertension services more frequently and consistently than uninsured respondents and have made more lifestyle changes than the uninsured comparison group, suggesting that the insurance has reduced barriers to access and played a role in facilitating healthy behavior change. To compound this benefit, HCHC clients also face dramatically lower costs of treatment and services, though their opportunity cost of seeking care remains the same as it does for uninsured clients. At the same time, we find that the lifestyle changes that insured clients have undertaken, specifically dietary changes, have resulted in new and unforeseen non-medical costs for this group. This sheds light on the consideration that in some cases, by virtue of their more frequent contact with the health system, insured individuals actually spend more on their health than do uninsured individuals.These expenses are important to quantify as they can lead to improved health outcomes but can also discourage short-term usage of health services.

FinScope Thailand 2013 Survey Highlights FinScope Thailand 2013 Survey Highlights

Published: 08/01/2013
To measure and profile the levels of access to financial
services by all adults in Thailand, across income ranges
and other demographics, and making this information
available for use by key stakeholders such as policymakers,
regulators, and financial service providers.
Information provided by the survey helps extend the reach
of financial services in the country, as it provides an
understanding of the adult population in Thailand in terms
■ Livelihoods and how they generate their income;
■ Their financial needs and/or demands;
■ Their financial perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours;
■ Their demographic and geographic distribution;
■ The obstacles they face and the factors that would
have an influence on their financial situations;
■ Current levels of access to, and utilisation of,
financial services and products (formal and/or
■ The landscape of access (i.e. types of products used
in terms of transactions, savings, credit, insurance
and remittances);
■ Drivers of financial products and service utilisation;
■ Barriers to utilisation of, and access to, financial
products and services;
■ The size of the market; and
■ The similarities and differences between different
market segments.
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