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The promise of microinsurance: Five years on

Low-income households are the most vulnerable to risk, and the least able to cope when a crisis occurs. Shocks – such as the illness or death of a breadwinner, the loss of productive assets, or the destruction wrought by disaster – can wipe out a poor households’ assets and capacity to earn a basic living in a single stroke. 

Microinsurance holds the promise of improving the resilience of low-income households by equipping them to better manage risks. Yet challenges remain to provide products that deliver on the promise of microinsurance for households, while also being viable for the organizations that offer them. 

Over the last five years the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility has tackled this double challenge head on. It has supported innovations at over 60 partner organizations in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and fed the lessons from these experiences to the industry.

Microinsurance has grown dramatically to almost half a billion today, and the Microinsurance Innovation Facility has been at the forefront of developments in the industry:

Low-income people are able to access microinsurance from an increasingly broad range of distribution channels. From supermarkets to churches, our partners are making microinsurance available in the places low-income households visit on a regular basis.

Technology has driven efficiency and allowed microinsurance to reach ever-growing numbers of clients. We have funded experiments to enhance efficiency and client experience, from crucial management information systems to innovations involving mobile phones, biometrics, or remote sensing through satellites.

Products are becoming increasingly varied and valuable for low-income households. We have five years of evidence on the product changes that can make a significant difference for clients and for the viability of products.

From governments to retailers, NGOs to insurance companies, an increasingly wide range of players is coming together to build markets for microinsurance. We have learnt first-hand the importance of a broad market development approach to reach large numbers of low-income households.

Join the Microinsurance Innovation Facility as we celebrate five years of pushing the innovation frontier in microinsurance. Explore practical solutions and real-life examples with us and our partners. And look forward as we pursue our goal to provide quality microinsurance at scale, protecting millions more vulnerable people in the next five years.

The Facility is addressing a different theme per month from May to August. For the month of May, we focused on distribution; for June, we focused on technology; for July we highlighted client value and for August, we focused on market development. Click below to learn more about these themes.