20 February 2019
Blue Marble Microinsurance
In 2016, Blue Marble launched an agriculture venture pilot in Zimbabwe, which provided smallholder maize farmers with affordable index-based insurance protection against drought and access to quality agricultural inputs on credit. Blue Marble returned to the market in 2017 with a diversified and expanded offering. The intention is to scale the program in Zimbabwe and other markets across Africa, covering additional crops and perils beginning in 2018. Blue Marble is also designing and implementing ventures in Latin America and Asia, advancing food security, financial inclusion and micro-entrepreneurship.
Blue Marble Microinsurance Inc., a consortium of eight insurance companies (AIG, Aspen, Hamilton, Marsh & McClennan / Guy Carpenter, Old Mutual, TransRe, XL Catlin, and Zurich) with a mission of extending insurance protection to the underserved in emerging markets, has committed to providing drought protection to smallholder farmers in Africa, addressing a largely unmet insurance need in the region.
While their long-term intention is to roll out a weather index insurance solution to reduce the rainfall uncertainty risk facing largely female smallholder farmers across Africa, Blue Marble will launch a two-year pilot on a smaller scale in Zimbabwe in November 2016. Blue Marble will provide drought protection to thousands of smallholder maize farmers in Zimbabwe. There are three key aspects of their pilot venture. First, they will design a proprietary weather index. Second, they will use mobile technology to communicate with customers. Third, they will use innovative sensor technology to measure rainfall and plant health accurately throughout the growing season. This insurance solution has given farmers access to credit, with which they can afford drought resistant seeds and more effective forms of fertilizer. Blue Marble’s coverage of the input cost will span the complete growing season, including gestation, flowering, and harvest. Blue Marble will also provide adjacency drought-resistant gardening crops primarily to the women of these farming families as a safety net. This aligns with the vision of EWEC’s Global Strategy (2016-2030) which emphasizes how by 2030, every woman in every setting must have social and economic opportunities, and is able to participate fully in shaping prosperous and sustainable societies.
In November 2016, Blue Marble launched its first venture, a crop index insurance product in Zimbabwe, protecting smallholder maize farmers against the risk of drought in the 2016-2017 growing season. In 2017, Blue Marble will extend its reach to not only provide additional services to farmers, but also address the needs of additional customer groups, including women, immigrants and migrants, and micro-entrepreneurs.