Awareness raising and training for insurance against natural catastrophes in India


Microfinance institutions (MFIs) play an important role in supporting the livelihoods of low-income households in rural areas. MFIs can finance production and investments and they can help a client bridge a financial gap. Women are strongly represented among MFIs’ clients, accounting for more than 95 per cent of their customer base.

Natural catastrophes disrupt income generating activities of MFIs customers, but they disproportionately affect women, and especially those in areas that are prone to risk (storms, droughts and floods). Not only do they face more difficulty in repaying their loans because of low financial resilience, but they are also more vulnerable in the aftermath of a disaster. An MFI customer will have to take care of both their household expenses and loan repayments. They may try to do everything they can to secure future access to credit, leading to negative coping mechanisms, such as selling their business assets. This in turn makes them even more vulnerable to future shocks.

Given the impact of natural catastrophes on MFIs and their clients, there is a clear need to create products that protects both MFIs and their clients, keeping their needs, and especially those of women, in mind.


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is working with partners in India to develop a natural catastrophe insurance product, targeting MFI customers. The insurance covers catastrophes like cyclones, floods, droughts and earthquakes experienced by borrowers. While insurance in the agricultural sector is not new to the Indian market, protection against natural catastrophes is still unchartered.

The ILO has partnered with GIZ to raise awareness among MFI clients about natural catastrophe insurance. The ILO also supports GIZ in developing a training guide that MFI loan officers can use when explaining the risks of natural catastrophes to clients. The pilot project is conceived and implemented in collaboration with the Micro Finance Institutions Network (MFIN) of India, Weather Risk Management Services (WRMS), Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company and SwissRe India.


The project carries out the following activities:
  • Develop an awareness campaign on natural catastrophe insurance for MFI customers
  • Develop a training programme on natural catastrophe insurance for the MFI loan officers
  • Create awareness raising materials in digital and print format, to be used among both MFI customers and MFI loan officers