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MicroFund for Women

About the Project
Project Name: 
Pioneering the “Women’s World Banking Caregiver Policy” for MFW clients
Type of Facility Project: 
Innovation Grant
Pays d’opération: 
Asia and the Pacific
Project Thematic Focus: 
Product design
Health - in-patient
Type of Risk Carrier: 
regulated insurance company
Project Description: 

The goal of the project is to develop an affordable health insurance product that will offset some critical costs borne by MFW’s clients in accessing public health care. MFW and WWB conducted a demand assessment and surveyed the Jordanian healthcare industry in 2007 to assess the gaps in the current health care coverage available to MFW clients. While every citizen has access to public facilities for primary health care, the research indicated that satisfaction with public healthcare is low especially for emergency and more extensive healthcare due to overcrowded environments, absence of necessary medications and often, a lack of professionalism of medical staff. The Caregiver product would enable MFW clients, if they choose, to receive cash payments to help offset the cost of accessing private health care facilities for emergencies and more serious illnesses. The product will also cover the incidental costs of travel to the hospital, and of staying there for an extended period.

Click here to view the Product Description of MicroFund for Women.

Consortium Members: 

Started in 1979, Women’s World Banking is a global network of 41 leading microfinance institutions from 29 countries. The network members are diverse in geography, size and structure, but united in the firm belief that global poverty can be best addressed by increasing the economic access, participation and power of low-income women. Collectively the network reaches over 21 million poor entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are women.


The Caregiver product will be offered to MFW’s nearly 40,000 borrowers: MicroFund serves primarily women (96% of borrowers) with an emphasis on those below the poverty line (78%). Research indicates that health is among the top three most important financial concerns of MFW’s target group.

Lessons from the Project
Learning Agenda: 
  • How much does insurance help protect savings and capital accumulation in a household?
  • How will clients use a supplemental hospital cash product to meet their typically non-insured health care costs?
  • How effective are different marketing methods for voluntary insurance components of the Caregiver product?
  • How well do clients understand all features of the policy, especially any that are mandatory?
  • What additional institutional capacity is required to expand insurance services beyond a credit life product?
  • How sustainable and replicable is a caregiver insurance product?
Emerging Lessons: 
  • Having insurance may increase health seeking behavior.
  • Clients appear to be able to use a hospital cash product with ease.  Although claims rates may increase over time, the actual frequency of hospitalization may be less than expected, thus keeping claims costs low.  
  • Client reaction to a mandatory hospital cash product is generally positive. 
  • Clients need to understand how to submit claims.
  • Loan officers not familiar with insurance may be reluctant to offer and service insurance products.
  • When multiple stakeholders are involved, a clear decision making process is essential to achieve timely action on implementation, and to obtain consensus.
  • Partnership terms should be clearly defined from the outset.  
  • It is important to invest time to educate an insurer about the MFI’s clients and its operations and for the MFI to understand the insurer’s processes and expectations.
  • It is important for the insurer to be transparent on product terms and pricing and to include the input of the MFI in the pricing process.  
  • A delivery channel and an insurer view the value proposition of a product like Caregiver differentlyand thus their motivations differ.  
  • It is essential to have detailed client data. 
  • The insights gleaned from client focus groups are invaluable to shape the final product and its features. 
  • It is critical to have insurance expertise to negotiate appropriate terms with the insurer.
  • The coordination and negotiation around product features, including pricing and exclusions, so that the final product is affordable and attractive to MFW clients, took longer than expected. 
  • A pilot phase is ideal for testing new processes on a small scale (efficiently), and to be able to see what works (or doesn’t), then integrate improvements before scaling up.  
  • Introduction of new processes should to be as light as possible (add onto existing processes when possible) and flexible to develop efficient methods.
About the Organization
Relationship with the Facility: 
Innovation grantee
Country of Head Office: 
Region : 
Type of institution : 
Financial services industry (other than insurance)
Participation in Microinsurance: 
Distribution channel
Organizational Overview: 

MicroFund for Women (MFWstarted as a Save the Children lending program in 1994 and was registered as a local non profit company under the Ministry of Trade in 1999.

MFW aims to harness the productive capacity of microentrepreneurs in Jordan, especially women, by providing them with financial and non-financial services. Its work contributes to the empowerment of underprivileged women as they become income earners and decision-makers in their communities and to reduce unemployment by enhancing economic opportunities and providing support to entrepreneurial enterprises.

More about the Organization