Author Archive

How can Innovation in Risk Transfer Reach the most Vulnerable?

Written by admin on November 15, 2013. Posted in Climate Change, Disaster Financing, Lower Income Countries, Parametric Insurance

The typhoon-ravaged Philippines are a powerful reminder of the high toll of disaster risk. Vulnerability to climate shocks and natural disasters in general continues to grow, particularly among the least equipped to withstand and rebound from this risk. The graphic below paints a telling picture. The first map is a Climate Demography Vulnerability Index (CDVI), developed by Sampson, et al. (2011); the second gives an overview of property insurance penetration. High vulnerability plus the lack of financial protection means even slower economic growth and more poverty in the future.

high vulnerability plus limited protection

The good news is we have the technological and scientific wherewithal to model disaster risks which can significantly improve capacity to manage them. For example, the UK Met Office uses more than 10 million weather observations a day, an advanced atmospheric model and a high performance supercomputer to create some of the world’s most accurate forecasts. These forecasts can be used to model climate risks in Africa, Asia, South America and other regions where traditional insurance markets have failed to flourish. Climate models, in turn, can feed into the design of potent financial disaster risk management products.

We have capacity in the international risk markets to hold this growing risk. For example, the reinsurance industry capital now stands at USD 510 billion. According to Aon Benfield, insurers and reinsurers will benefit from additional USD 100 billion of alternative capital in the next five years.

Lastly, we have the goodwill to find working solutions. Development organizations have entrusted millions of dollars with practitioners, such as us, to test the potential of financial innovation in fighting poverty and building resilience at scale. The parts are there. How can we unlock this existing potential to deepen risk transfer markets in lower income countries?

Skees Keynote Address at 2012 Research Conference on MicroInsurance

Written by admin on August 19, 2012. Posted in Seminars & Workshops


The 2012 Research Conference on MicroInsurance was organized by the Institute for Innovation and Governance Studies, a research institute of the University of  Twente, in cooperation with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as various international (research) institutes in the field of microfinance.

The potential of microinsurance as a market mechanism for the reduction of vulnerability of low income households has attracted the attention of the commercial sectors as well as donors, government and NGOs. It is recently being estimated that the global micro insurance market is worth USD 40 billion to the insurance industry and that it could reach out to 2.6 billion low income people worldwide (Swiss Re, 2010). The characteristics of this young and fast growing field imply that there is a large role to play for innovative research focusing on many different aspects of microinsurance.

The aim of the 2012 Research Conference on MicroInsurance was two-fold. First of all its objective was to assess the state of the art in microinsurance research and to provide a platform for further in-depth academic  discussions, as a complement and follow-up to the Annual International Microinsurance Conferences. In addition, the conference aimed to create a dialogue between researchers from different geographical regions and the variety of research disciplines.

Dr. Jerry Skees
presented a Keynote Address during this conference on the topic of Agriculture and Natural Disaster Insurance. Other Keynote speeches were provided by Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, Craig Churchill, Chair of the Microinsurance Network and Team Leader of ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility, Xavier Giné, World Bank and Bart Criel of the Institute for Tropical Medicine Antwerp.

Click here to view the Keynote Address provided by Dr. Skees.
Click here to download conference papers.

Enhancing Financial Services through Portfolio-Level Disaster Insurance

Written by admin on July 25, 2012. Posted in Climate Change, Financial Institutions, Parametric Insurance, Peru

Benjamin Collier and Jerry Skees recently published an article in the journal Natural Hazards documenting their work with financial intermediaries in Peru entitled, “Enhancing Financial Services through Portfolio-Level Disaster Insurance.” Here is a link to the publication on SpringerLink and its abstract is below. A prior version of the paper is also available in our library, click here.



Financial intermediaries [FIs] in developing and emerging economies are poorly equipped to manage natural disasters. These events create losses for FIs, eroding capital reserves and compromising their ability to lend. Portfolio-level insurance against disasters can improve FI management of these events. We model microfinance intermediaries [MFIs] exposed to severe El Niño in Peru that can now insure against this disaster risk. Our analyses suggest that insurance allows these lenders to manage this risk more efficiently and effectively. is ebay site down right now . These risk management improvements can translate into better financial performance, expansion of banking service outreach, lower interest rates, and reduced volatility in access to credit. Based on these analyses, a large MFI in Peru with which we collaborated is now managing its disaster risk using El Niño insurance