An Industry Note - Microinsurance - Taking Risk Management to the Grassroots

            
 
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Case Details:

Report Code : BREP027
Report Length : 8 Pages
Period : 1970 - 2005
Organization : -
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : India, Bangladesh, Zambia
Industry : Microfinance

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Abstract

The opening up of the Indian Insurance sector in 1999 has given microfinance institutions (MFIs) a new window of opportunity. Tie ups between insurance companies and MFIs have resulted in a win-win partnership for all the concerned stakeholders. The poor sections of the population face a variety of risks. Risk mitigation becomes important as their meager incomes and livelihoods are dependent on their physical well being and health. As with the case of microcredit, the opportunity for marketing insurance products to the poor (rural and urban) is huge. SEWA (India), BASIX (India), Delta Insurance (Bangladesh), and Madison Insurance Zambia Limited (Zambia) have implemented microinsurance initiatives at the grassroots. 

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Since microinsurance is a recent phenomenon, regulation is virtually non-existent in many developing countries. However the Insurance Development Regulatory Authority (IRDA), India has suggested a few proposals to develop the market for insurance in rural areas.

But there are a few critical issues MFIs have to consider before they embark on the microinsurance path.

Successful microcredit ventures need not necessarily translate into microinsurance success. The attitudes of the rural consumers towards insurance and savings and their understanding of the benefits of these products are still at a nascent stage.

Insurance companies have to work closely with their target customers to understand their needs and design suitable products. Regulation of this sector is likely to be a key issue in the future...

Introduction

Till the late 1990s, microfinance institutions (MFIs) focused primarily on providing credit and facilitating savings among the poor. However, over time, their activities and product portfolio have widened considerably in scope. With the opening up of the Indian insurance sector in 1999, MFIs also began to offer insurance products to their members.

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