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International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

About the Project
Project Name: 
Piloting Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) in Marsabit: Building delivery infrastructure and fuelling knowledge-based adoption
Type of Facility Project: 
Innovation Grant
País de operaciones: 
Project Thematic Focus: 
Product design
Agriculture and livestock - index livestock
Type of Risk Carrier: 
regulated insurance company
Type of Distribution Channel: 
Project Description: 

Drought is the most pervasive hazard, encountered by these households on a widespread level. Given the pastoralists sole or partial reliance on livestock for their livelihoods, the resulting high livestock mortality rate has devastating effects on asset levels, rendering pastoralists amongst the most vulnerable populations in Kenya. The project therefore intends to answer pastoralists' need for strategies and tools for managing the climate related risks that they face. The objectives are to ensure that individuals making contract purchase decisions are fully aware of the benefits and extent of insurance coverage and its possible limitations; to develop a transparent and efficient framework for administering insurance contracts that generates enough confidence to increase outreach and develop customers loyalty; and to learn and document the effectiveness of various financial marketing and extension services and tools to a relatively illiterate population that is ethnically diverse and inhabits a remote and infrastructure deficient region.

The project aims to test the viability and impact of livestock insurance contracts based on an estimated relationship between historical livestock mortality and satellite readings of forage availability. It will further attempt to test models for enhancing consumer understanding of insurance principles and education which can improve outreach for insurance amongst vulnerable households

The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will involve set-up, project launch activities and initial documentation of lessons learned. The second phase will involve scale up of project within Marsabit and continued documentation on lessons learned.

Consortium Members: 

Equity Bank is a competitive provider of financial services, with a focus on the unbanked and underbanked. Equity Bank's vision is to be the preferred microfinance provider contributing to economic prosperity of Africa.

UAP Insurance Company is one of the leading financial services groups in East Africa. The group transacts all classes of general insurance in addition to marine, life, pensions and healthcare products.


The project is targeted towards pastoralists in Kenya's Marsabit District. Marsabit has a population of approximately 30,000 households and a livestock population of 120,000 cattle, 1 million sheep and goats, and 76,000 camels.

Lessons from the Project
Learning Agenda: 
  • What are the determinants of insurance uptake?
  • Whether, and if so by how much, the insurance changes households' economic decisions and welfare?
  • What are the challenges and opportunities involved in delivering insurance marketing and extension services to a relatively illiterate population that is ethnically diverse and inhabits a remote and infrastructure deficient region?
  • How effective are different marketing and extension tools in enabling pastoralists make insurance investment decisions.
Emerging Lessons: 
  • Promotion campaign through radio and outdoor activities such as skits, games and comic books bundled with broader risk-management education seemed to be effective in building awareness.
  • Insurance simulation games were effective in helping pastoralists understand the concept of insurance.
  • Audio Visual extension tools that are in the local language can be effective in getting information through to the pastoralists.
  • Simple gadgets like T-shirts can be used to create greater awareness.
  • For a new concept like insurance, constant engagement with the targeted and insured community is helpful.
  • It is also critical to keep a continuous contact with the intermediaries and the community leaders.
  • Village elders have proven to be some of the most effective Master Trainers and VIPs.
  • It is important to educate the pastoralists about the insurance products before the beginning of the sales period.
  • Women are great influencers.
  • There must be a distinct separation of extension and sales.
  • Expanding the reach of microinsurance requires heavy partner involvement and a high level of commitment from each partner.
  • Investment required by agents to complete sales of the product needs to be such that their interest can be developed and maintained.
  • It is relevant to try out different kinds of partnerships when entering a new area or experimenting with a new concept.
  • Sales channel must be able to use the technology selected for transaction.  There
  • It is important for the beneficiaries to get a “receipt” or confirmation that the payment has been recorded in a relevant fashion.

Date of last Learning Journey update: February 2012

About the Organization
Tipo de vínculo con el Fondo: 
Innovation grantee
Country of Head Office: 
Region : 
Type of institution : 
Researchers and academics
Participation in Microinsurance: 
Research support / academia
Organizational Overview: 

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works at the crossroads of livestock and poverty, bringing high-quality science and capacity-building to bear on poverty reduction and sustainable development for poor livestock keepers and their communities. ILRI's research portfolio comprises three issue-oriented themes: 1) improving market opportunities; 2) using biotechnology to secure livestock assets; and 3) people, livestock and the environment. The institute also researches two cross-cutting programs that study evolution in livestock systems and the impacts of livestock innovation on poverty, vulnerability and gender equity. ILRI works in all tropical developing regions with special emphasis on Africa and South and Southeast Asia.

More about the Organization