Microinsurance project in Africa expands with USAID investment
Reuters, 20 September 2011
The Swiss Re backed-microinsurance project that provides drought insurance for crops in Ethiopia will be expanded to Senegal, the companies involved said in a joint statement late on Monday.
The five-year project, known as the 'R4 Rural Resilience Initiative', was developed by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxfam America to allow farmers to use labour to pay for a weather-based insurance contract that will provide compensation if a severe drought event hampers crop growth.
In June, the R4 programme was launched in Ethiopia, with a USD 1.25 million investment from Swiss Re. The second largest reinsurer will design the risk transfer solutions to reinsure the programme, which currently covers Ethiopia and Senegal, and an additional two countries, which are yet to be chosen, for the next five years, said the statement.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed USD 8 million to expand the R4 initiative and the global development of the project. USAID funds WFP in the R4 collaboration, while Swiss Re funds and supports Oxfam America.
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Fonkoze pays out USD 1 million in disaster microinsurance
Microfinance Focus, 14 September 2011
After heavy rainfall in parts of Haiti, microfinance institution Fonkoze has given more than USD 1 million in damages to its 3,800 borrowers in the first payout of its natural disaster insurance.
Eligible borrowers received cash payments of USD 125 (HTG 5,000) each to repair their homes and recapitalise their businesses and had their loans repaid for them through their insurance product Kore W.
Fonkoze founded insurance company MiCRO (the Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation) to offer microinsurance throughout the world. Its insurance policies combine both parametric and basic risk options, allowing for fast and flexible products that can be catered to organisations’ specific needs. Fonkoze paid most claims within 60 days of the event occurring.
Through more than 15 years of working in this context, Anne Hastings, CEO of Fonkoze said, "It means nothing to help our clients build their assets if they have no way to protect them against sudden loss in a natural disaster."
Fonkoze already provides its clients with life insurance to cover the death of a client, a common cause of financial distress for families in the rural countryside where disease is common and healthcare is scarce. The 2010 earthquake made their susceptibility to natural disasters all too clear.
Bringing microinsurance down to the grassroots through microinsurance agents in the Philippines
The Philippine Star, 12 September 2011
A new breed of agents being trained by CARD (Center for Agriculture and Rural Development) are ready to make insurance available to every Filipino, even in the vastly untapped rural areas.
The CARD Microinsurance Agents or MI-Agents, a first in the insurance industry, are fondly called nanays, but they are tough and focused on their mission to make it known to more Filipinos that these products are within their reach.
In the world of microinsurance, accessibility means everything. To the majority of Filipinos, traditional insurance is deemed inaccessible — expensive, offered only in the big cities, difficult to maintain. Thus, as part of its mission to empower the poor, CARD reinforces its microfinance programs by offering insurance products that are affordable, leveraging on the strength of its network of members.
Most CARD nanays have experienced first hand the benefits of microinsurance, and so are easily able to share its value with their peers. The power of their testimony has convinced many women to set aside money for coverage that protects their families and property. "Since the insurance business is based on trust, we needed a sales force that could be trusted not only by the insurance provider but by their peers in the countryside." said Alex Dimaculangan, CaMIA president.
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Microfinance meets micro healthcare in India
Microfinance Focus, 24 August 2011
In an attempt to provide affordable a micro health programme to the underserved sections of the society, Mysore (Karnataka, India) based healthcare consultancy and service provider Suddanand Healthcare has developed a symbiotic relationship with microfinance institutions in Karnataka.
Utilising the existing customer base infrastructure of MFIs in the state, Suddanand Healthcare programme is ensuring higher efficiency, standardisation of charges, greater awareness and penetration of health care to a larger section of people.
Suddanand is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and offers a non-commercial micro health programme. An individual has to pay INR 160 (USD 3.5) to become a member. With this membership, he/she can claim up to INR 5000 (USD 110). The membership card can be used at certain hospitals to receive outpatient services at INR 10 (USD 0.2) and inpatient treatment at fixed costs arranged by Suddanand Healthcare with the hospitals.
Suddanand Healthcare coordinates between MFIs and network hospitals for fixing standard rates for medical expenses. It also appoints and provides claim forms to network hospitals near the villages. Further, it provides license to treat patients under cashless scheme to the hospitals.
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