Making public-private partnerships work for better insurance coverage

Ghana Business News - Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has seen more than its share of both natural and man-made disasters. In a country like Haiti, microfinance not only helps to create jobs and income, but becomes a relief and survival strategy after disaster. Sarah Bel, Information Officer for the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility, reports on how public-private partnerships play an important role to scale up quality and affordable insurance products for low-income workers.

Josette Lazarre is a 48-year-old nurse and mother of three, who lost her husband in the earthquake in 2010.

When heavy rain pummeled Haiti in June 2011, causing mudslides, flooding and destruction of property, Josette lost all her merchandise – medical supplies including water purification tablets, oral rehydration solution, and medicines.

Fortunately, she had purchased Kore W, Haitian Creole for “Reinforce you”, an insurance coverage to protect small entrepreneurs in the event of natural disasters provided by Fonkoze, the largest microfinance institution of the country. She received quickly her pay out (about $125), had her current loan cancelled, and received a new loan.

“It got me going again,” Josette said. “Fonkoze provided me the initial medical supplies and training to get my pharmaceutical business up and running.” With this support, Josette was able to respond quickly when the cholera epidemic struck her community.

500 million access microinsurance

The number of insurance schemes worldwide that protect low-income entrepreneurs like Josette has dramatically increased over the past five years.
Recent research carried out by the Microinsurance Innovation Facility of the International Labour Organization and the Munich Re Foundation estimates that 500 million low-income people worldwide have now access to affordable insurance products and are covered against accidents, illnesses, death in the family, natural disasters or property losses, representing dramatic growth in recent years.
Despite this new scale, the regional distribution of microinsurance has not changed dramatically and Asia is spearheading the growth.

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