Haiti launches mi­cro-fi­nance catas­tro­phe in­sur­ance pro­gramme

When Hur­ri­cane Sandy struck Haiti late last year, the ma­jor­ity of Haitians had no in­sur­ance cover with which to re­build their lives.

In an ef­fort to show the fea­si­bil­ity of pro­tect­ing the poor through in­sur­ance In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion (IFC), a di­vi­sion of the World Bank, will place $1.7 mil­lion in fund­ing, plus tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, to sup­port the lo­cal Mi­croin­sur­ance Catas­tro­phe Risk Or­gan­i­sa­tion, (Mi­CRO) pro­gramme.

Mi­CRO, the first nat­u­ral catas­tro­phe in­sur­ance scheme of its kind in Haiti, was founded by Fonkoze, the in­ter­na­tional re­lief or­gan­i­sa­tion Mercy Corps, and a num­ber of other part­ners af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake in Haiti in Jan­uary 2010.

One of the most weather dis­as­ter­prone coun­tries in the world, Haiti’s most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents rely on small-scale farm­ing and are at con­stant risk of los­ing their liveli­hoods. Mi­CRO’s ac­tiv­i­ties are sup­ported lo­cally by Haitian in­surer Al­ter­na­tive In­sur­ance Com­pany SA (AIC), along with global rein­surer Swiss Re.

While sim­i­lar disas­ter mi­croin­sur­ance schemes ex­ist else­where in the world, they don’t op­er­ate un­der the same model as Mi­CRO. The fund­ing is viewed as an ex­per­i­ment, which, if suc­cess­ful, will be repli­cated else­where.

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