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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

ild. "This keeps the economic shock of losing a family member from sending a working family back into poverty," Leftley explained. The life insurance product is so popular that about 40,000 new clients are signing up per month in the Philippines and 12,000 per month in Ghana.

In Malawi, the agency has successfully tested crop insurance for farmers in a country that frequently experiences drought. The insurance is combined with a loan that enables farmers to obtain higher quality, drought-resistant seed and fertilizer. The two-year pilot has been so successful that the World Bank, which provided initial funding, has selected the Micro Insurance Agency to expand crop insurance throughout Sub-Saharan Africa in the coming years.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant also will enable the agency to expand into health insurance. "Health insurance is the most critical need of the poor and the most limited today. Few products exist and most are prohibitively expensive or are based on complicated models used in the developed world," Leftley said. "Our plan is to develop affordable and easy-to-use health insurance, and to enable 2.4 million people to gain access to healthcare services as we test, refine and roll out new products over the life of this grant."

The Micro Insurance Agency acts as an insurance broker and is working with many large international insurance companies that underwrite the policies. The organization has developed breakthrough efficiencies in its back-end administration that make the insurance affordable and enable payment of claims in an average of six days.

Third Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to Opportunity International

This is the third significant grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Opportunity International since November 2005. The first two awards -- $7.6 million in grants and a $10 million program related investment loan -- are funding rapid expansion of the organization's banks for the
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SOURCE Opportunity International
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