Catastrophic risk index insurance product launched in Guatemala to protect low-income families against serious financial loss
Bridgetown, Barbados – November 15th, 2016 – The Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organization (MiCRO), a reinsurance company incorporated in Barbados, has announced a new microinsurance product offering to meet the protection needs of low-income families in Central America.
“This innovative product will for the first time offer insurance protection in Guatemala to those who need it most,” said Carlos Boelsterli, CEO for MiCRO. “Clients will also receive training to reduce their exposure to risk. Over the long run, this approach will help strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities and improve the country’s overall economic performance.”
MiCRO’s pioneering product will cover business interruption losses from excessive rainfall, severe drought and earthquakes. MiCRO already submitted a related product for approval in El Salvador and plans to do so in Honduras in 2017.
“We are working closely with microfinance institutions and insurers in Central America to develop commercially sustainable products that are appropriate and affordable for farmers and small businesses,” said Steve Mitchell, Chairman of the Board for MiCRO. “Anyone who may be affected by a catastrophic weather or earthquake event will be able to get the insurance protection they need from a reliable source.”
The catastrophic risk index insurance policy, designed by MiCRO and provided through local Guatemalan partners Banrural and Aseguradora Rural, is triggered automatically by predetermined events that are verified by objective data sources, including NASA satellites. The stronger the event, the greater the payout to the beneficiaries will be. Policyholders will also receive disaster risk reduction training through national coordinating bodies, such as Guatemala’s CONRED.
Critical to many Central American economies, the agriculture and small business sector is exceedingly susceptible to weather-related events. Climate change is a threat multiplier for many such events, increasing both their intensity and frequency. Before this product, there were no index-based, catastrophic risk insurance policies specifically for low-income individuals in Guatemala.
By the end of 2019 MiCRO’s catastrophic risk index insurance products are expected to reach 250,000 people across Central America. They will be offered through local insurance companies, which will distribute policies through aggregators, including microfinance institutions, and other organizations. MiCRO’s expansion into Central America is supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Mercy Corps, and Swiss Re whose technical assistance and risk capacity has been instrumental in providing this first-of-its-kind insurance protection.
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