Research has shown that healthcare costs often exert the most financial pressure on poor families. The poor lack the resources to respond quickly in a health emergency, both with the cost of care and the ability to forfeit work to seek care. Meeting the costs of an unexpected health emergency is the most common reason women give for having to liquidate or de-capitalise their businesses. These circumstances only serve as a catalyst for moving further into poverty, depriving families of the tools they once had to generate income. Microinsurance has tremendous potential to provide security and stability to a poor household but if it does not take into account client needs, it will not be successful.

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO at Women’s World Banking: ‘To create the product, Microfund for Women and Women’s World Banking conducted in-depth gender research with more than 1,000 of Microfund for Women’s clients to gain a thorough understanding of client needs. The study revealed that the majority of MFW’s clients were not insured, and when in the need of health care, used public facilities paid for by savings or borrowings.’

Mary Ellen Iskenderian: ‘This is what we mean by economic empowerment — a solution to problems that does not involve charity, but is truly sustainable. If we can ensure that women have access to a full suite of financial products and services, we can have a multiplier effect for improving the well-being of whole families for generations.’

 

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Newslink: “A micro health insurance for women in Jordan