The project seeks to pilot a business model for mainstreaming access to insurance services for rural communities. Insurers are often dissuaded from entering rural markets due to small premiums, high transaction costs and non-viable delivery channels. The model proposes to identify, strengthen and leverage existing relationships and channels which build on trust and can evolve into a scalable business model. The model will test the efficacy of existing self help groups' federations as 'insurance service providers' by helping them build an insurance team to link between the communities and the insurers. Starting with health (identified as primary need), the project will develop the information and document flow within the federation-community system to provide low cost premium collection and claims servicing, which can evolve into a self-sustaining retail distribution providing relevant products to the low-income communities.
The servicing of the claims will be done either directly by the insurer or through a Third Party Administrator (TPA) designated for this purpose.
The Centre for Insurance and Risk Management (CIRM) is a non-profit organization engaged in a variety of action research initiatives with insurers, NGOs and regulators to design and promote innovative insurance products and to improve knowledge on risk-mitigating mechanisms. CIRM is one of 6 specialized centres associated with the Institute of Financial Management and Research (IFMR).
The project targets rural families that work in the informal economy lacking access to social and health security. Their income is often at risk by health shocks that force families towards emergency loans and debt. PWDS works with rural communities including poor farmers and palmyrah workers, rural artisans, and marginalized communities such as Dalits, people affected by HIV/AIDS and indigenous communities. Beneficiaries live in the districts of Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, and Tirunelveli in south Tamil Nadu and are organized in self-help groups (SHG), comprising 355,356 families.
Founded in 1977, Palmyrah Workers' Development Society (PWDS) is an NGO that implements community development projects in Tamil Nadu, India. PWDS seeks to improve the socio-economic condition of low-income communities by promoting community organisation, building competencies, linking with mainstream resources and services, and influencing local and national policies.
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