Insurance can play a crucial role in eliminating extreme poverty and building shared prosperity. Insurance helps households and businesses efficiently cope with shocks that threaten their livelihoods – shocks that more frequently affect low-income populations and that can send them back into, or deeper into, poverty. On the shared-prosperity side, insurance is not only beneficial when individuals claim payouts, but it also works to enhance the creditworthiness of borrowers by acting as security or collateral – thus unlocking access to finance for those who otherwise might not be able to secure it. It also allows households and small businesses to save and invest more, because they no longer need to hold as much in liquid deposits to cope with unexpected shocks.
Insurance is not just for individuals. When a government buys insurance coverage against major catastrophes, they become effective risk-managers rather than emergency borrowers, thus protecting livelihoods, investments and development progress.
Millions of people across the world are already feeling the effects of climate change, which is damaging crops and coastlines, putting food and water security at risk, having an effect on agricultural productivity, increasing the incidence of diseases, and reducing economic productivity. Without a strong global response, 100 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2030 just as a result of climate-related effects. Risk Financing and Insurance can play an important role in protecting those who are most vulnerable to climate shocks.
What We Do
The Risk Management Team draws on experienced insurance professionals with skill sets covering all areas of insurance development – from policy formation to regulation and supervision to investment and creating new insurance products, including index insurance and disaster risk financing. We work closely with our colleagues in other international organizations, and we play an important role in representing countries with new and developing insurance markets.
Agriculture Insurance: We work on both traditional agriculture insurance products and Agriculture Index insurance. Our work on agriculture insurance protects vulnerable citizens and migrants and allows them to gain access to credit.
Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI): We lead the international dialogue on financial resilience as a component of the World Bank Group’s support to countries on better managing disasters and climate shocks, thus developing strategies and instruments that provide financial protection against climate and disaster risks for governments, businesses and households. We work as a leading partner with countries seeking to develop and implement comprehensive financial-protection strategies.
Legal and regulatory work: Despite the tangible benefits of insurance, the insurance industry in many countries needs more than a “nudge” to start serving the majority of the population. The rate of insurance coverage in developing countries remains stubbornly low: About 80 percent of adults do not have access to insurance products, and gross premiums amount to only few percentage points of GDP. The insurance team at the World Bank Group works with a range of stakeholders to remove obstacles and kick-start the development of well-functioning insurance markets on the demand side and the supply side, as well as through the regulatory framework.
Health Insurance: Through the Global Insurance Solutions for Emerging Clients (G-ISEC) program, we are working on developing innovative and comprehensive health-financing solutions through insurance, health savings, health loans and related value-added services.
- Agriculture: Our work in Agriculture Index insurance has insured more than 1.3 million small farmers, pastoralists and small businesses through the Global Index Insurance Facility since 2010 with $148 million and has reached more than 1 million people with information and access to index insurance. For example, we have assisted with the implementation, through public-private partnerships, of large-scale agricultural insurance programs for farmers and rural populations in (among other countries) India, Kenya and Mongolia.
- DRFI: We are now providing analytical and advisory services convening services and financial services to more than 50 countries worldwide. For example, we have assisted with the development of national disaster risk financing and insurance strategies and action plans in Colombia, Peru, Panama, Philippines and Serbia.
- Thought Leadership: Our thought leadership has shaped the guidance provided by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors in such matters as inclusive insurance, mutuality and market conduct. About 500 government officials, representing a cross-section of ministries and sectors, along with representatives from private-sector insurance companies and World Bank Group staff members have been trained through the Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Program’s capacity-building component
- Knowledge Sharing: We routinely participate in Financial Sector Assessment Programs, conducted jointly by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, and we contribute technical notes with recommendations for the strengthening of countries’ insurance markets. For example, we have provided diagnostics and recommendations on the development of inclusive insurance in countries that include Yemen, Sri Lanka and Paraguay.
Who We Work WIth
The Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF) works in close collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to build public-private partnerships and to expand the use of index insurance as a risk-management tool in agriculture production, food security and disaster risk reduction. The Global Index Insurance Forum, the only online platform dedicated to knowledge and resources on index insurance, houses knowledge and insights from various GPs across the World Bank Group.
The Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI) Program connects financial expertise with risk management across many sectors to bring countries comprehensive solutions, helping them become effective risk managers. We run a Community of Practice with the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, the Climate Change Global Practice, and the World Bank Treasury to jointly support operational work, innovation and knowledge-sharing.