Saturday, October 03, 2009

Micro-insurance for Africa

A new concept for relieving poverty is Micro-insurance. A team of foreign insurance companies, including the non-profit Allianz, and NGOs have started offering death and disability insurance to the people in African countries. They have already started this in Asia, with over 30 million people insured in India. The micro-insurance concept is to allow very low income people to, for the first time, have insurance of any kind. Their biggest project is currently in Egypt, where 30,000 people are being insured. They are working with local and international partners, offering the insurance products as well as micro-credit options. The hope is to offer these products to support the people and help alleviate the poverty. Micro-credit and micro-saving have been around, while this is good, there needs to be insurance for the poor as well in case of a sudden death or disaster. Delphine Bazalgette of PlaNet Finance, a partner in the micro-insurance program explains, "..'Micro' does not mean 'simple.'" Everyone should have the opportunity to protect themselves and their family. The incentive for the companies involved is that, although probably not soon, they hope that by helping these people now with micro-insurance, someday these same people will be their customers for other products as well.
-Sara Frodge