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Opportunity International's Micro Insurance Agency to Develop and Provide Life, Health and Crop Insurance for 21 Million Poor People
Date:2/6/2008

$24.2 million in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to

help agency expand services in 11 new countries

OAK BROOK, Ill., Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Opportunity International, one of the world's largest microfinance organizations, today announced it has received a $24.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The funding will help Opportunity International's subsidiary, the Micro Insurance Agency, greatly expand its insurance products to the poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America and will enable the world's first stand-alone microinsurance agency to enter 11 new countries and provide life, health and crop insurance to 21 million poor people by 2012.

Microinsurance includes a range of products that can help the working poor manage economic hardship such as flooding, drought, hospitalization, or a death in the family. Workers in the developing world are more likely to experience hardship that can make it impossible to rise out of poverty, yet less than three percent of people in the world's 100 poorest countries have any type of insurance to protect them from financial shock.

"Opportunity International is a trusted partner and the Micro Insurance Agency has great leadership and experience in this nascent industry," said Priya Jaisinghani, program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "They are committed to testing different insurance products, methodologies and delivery systems all over the world, while helping to protect the poor from the severe financial consequences they face in their daily lives. The foundation is optimistic about the potential for microinsurance, and we have a lot to learn about products and services that will truly provide value to people living in poverty. We hope this grant will have tremendous impact by combining learning with doing."

The funding is part of the foundation's Financial Services for the Poor initiative, which is working with partner
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SOURCE Opportunity International
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