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Low-income producers in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador will prevent catastrophes through microinsurance

Oct 2, 2014

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, recently approved a US$800,000 technical cooperation grant for a project to be implemented by the Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation (MiCRO), a reinsurance company incorporated in Barbados. The project will strengthen the Central American microinsurance market with risk management instruments designed specifically for low-income producers. Specifically, the project seeks to work with local partners to design and implement microinsurance products that will enable 50,000 low-income producers to maintain their income levels whenever adverse weather conditions affect their crops, as well as the expansion of sustainably managed farmland. The project will also benefit three regulatory and public policy-making agencies in Central America and four entities in the region’s insurance sector.

The agriculture sector is an important driver of development in Central America. However, low-income producers face many risksinherent to agriculture, such as  changes in market conditions, pests, health crises—and with increasing frequency and intensity, risks resulting from climate change. According to the Landscape of Microinsurance in Latin America and the Caribbean, to date there are no agricultural insurance policies specifically designed for low-income individuals in the region, since they are not considered borrowers and do not have access to mechanisms for preventing, reducing and managing risks. However, the worst part is that even if these instruments and products did exist, their implementation in the market would be impacted by regulatory problems and the lack of coordination between the agencies responsible for executing financial public policies and policies to promote the agriculture sector.

In order to solve this problem, the project will coordinate efforts with public policy governing bodies to guarantee the existence of favorable regulatory environment, reliable local information and the technical ability to support the project and contribute to regional development. Simultaneously, emphasis will be placed on actively training the insurance sector in implementing a risk management strategy for extreme climate events, and financial education on insurance for staff, aggregators, and their clients.
The project will implement a “meso” business model, which means that MiCRO will operate in the market through a local insurance company to which MiCRO will offer reinsurance. The local insurance company will sell group policies to aggregators, which will be responsible for providing insurance certificates to their clients and managing the analysis and payment of claims. The aggregators will be microfinance institutions, cooperatives, associations, financial institutions, and NGOs.

The project’s total cost is US$5,190,059, of which US$800,000 will be contributed by the MIF, with US$200,000 contributed by the Partnership Trust Fund for Poverty Reduction in Latin America (AUS), and US$4,190,059 by MiCRO.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them the tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models. More information at

About MiCRO

The Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation (MiCRO) is a reinsurance company established in 2011 in Barbados by Mercy Corps and Fonkoze. MiCRO was created to specifically design and deliver innovative insurance solutions to low-income populations, especially microentrepreneurs and small farmers, as well as aggregate programs that offer services and products to the informal sector. MiCRO uses an innovative structure and approach to transfer risk by combining the capital efficiency of the international reinsurance market with donor capital to comprehensively meet the insurance coverage needs of people who are economically active but exposed to natural disasters and have no access to risk management tools.

«March 2018»

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