Micro-insurance against drought risk in a changing climate: Assessing demand and supply considerations

Hochrainer-Stigler, S., Mechler, R. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2239-1578, & Kull, D. (2010). Micro-insurance against drought risk in a changing climate: Assessing demand and supply considerations. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 2 (2) 148-166. 10.1108/17568691011040407.

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Purpose: Novel micro-insurance schemes are emerging to help the poor better deal with droughts and other disasters. Climate change is projected to increase the intensity and frequency of disasters and is already adding stress to actual and potential clients of these schemes. As well, insurers and reinsurers are increasingly getting worried about increasing claim burdens and the robustness of their pricing given changing risks. The purpose of this paper is to review and suggest ways to methodologically tackle the challenges regarding the assessment of drought risk and the viability of index-based insurance arrangements in the light of changing risks and climate change.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on novel modeling approaches, the authors take supply as well as demand side perspectives by combining risk analysis with regional climate projections and linking this to household livelihood modeling and insurance pricing. Two important examples in Malawi and India are discussed, where such schemes have been or are about to be implemented.

Findings: The authors find that indeed micro-insurance instruments may help low-income farming households better manage drought risk by smoothing livelihoods and reducing debt, thus avoiding poverty traps. Yet, also many obstacles to optimal design, viability and affordability of these schemes, are encountered. One of those is climate change and the authors find that changing drought risk under climate change would pose a threat to the viability of micro-insurance, as well as the livelihoods of people requesting such contracts.

Originality/value: The findings and suggestions may corroborate the case for donor support for existing or emerging insurance arrangements helping the poor better cope with climate variability and change. Furthermore, a closer linkage between climate and global change models with insurance and risk management models should be established in the future, which could be beneficial for both sides.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: India; Insurance; Malawi; Natural disasters; Poverty; Risk analysis
Research Programs: Risk and Vulnerability (RAV)
Bibliographic Reference: International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management; 2(2):148-166
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:21
URI: https://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9225

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