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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

s to develop and employ innovative ways to bring a wide range of financial services, including microinsurance, to people living in poverty throughout the developing world.

"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant will enable us to rapidly scale up the agency so we can offer insurance to poor people who have never enjoyed the basic protections that insurance provides," said Richard Leftley, president of the Micro Insurance Agency. "We are grateful that the foundation has acknowledged our capability to design, test and develop affordable insurance products that will give the poor a measure of economic security that doesn't exist in the developing world today."

An estimated 2.5 billion poor people worldwide have no access to insurance, Leftley explained. Only 0.3 percent of the poor in Africa have any insurance, and in 23 of the poorest 100 countries in the world, there is no identified microinsurance activity. "In some African countries, there is much education to be done because there isn't even a word for insurance in the local languages," Leftley said.

Opportunity International began offering microinsurance in 2002 and established the Micro Insurance Agency in 2005. Currently, the organization has 675,000 life, credit or crop insurance policies covering 3.3 million poor people in 10 African and Asian countries. Among its early innovations, the microinsurance pioneer developed a viable life insurance product in Uganda that includes coverage for persons with HIV/AIDS. In Malawi, a crop insurance program protects farmers from severe drought that caused starvation in their villages only a few years ago.

Will Enable Growth and New Products Including Health Insurance

The Micro Insurance Agency has developed innovations and technology to create affordable insurance products for individuals and groups of the poor. A typical life insurance policy costs about $1.50 per month and pays a death benefit for the head of household, spouse or ch
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SOURCE Opportunity International
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