Explaining index-based livestock insurance to pastoralists uri icon

abstract

  • Livestock production in arid and semi-arid rangelands is a risky enterprise. Covariate risk of catastrophic livestock loss due to drought is the most critical uninsured risk facing livestock producers. These losses can lead to persistent poverty. We are trying to design an index based livestock insurance (IBLI) program as a viable means to help pastoralists in northern Kenya manage such covariate risk of livestock losses due to drought. A predicted livestock mortality index ? established from a statistical relationship between satellite-generated vegetation imagery and historical records of community level livestock losses ? represents an objectively, cost effectively measured and non-human manipulable index that triggers insurance payout. The insurance is offered by private insurance companies. The advantages of reduced transaction costs and asymmetric information problems, however, come at the cost of increased basis risk, which refers to the imperfect correlation between an insured?s loss experience and the index. We have developed a game that explains to pastoralists how such an insurance product could work. We built in the game both covariate and idiosyncratic shocks, and use a subsistence constraint to generate bifurcating asset dynamics, observed empirically in the targeted communities. This paper describes how the game was designed, how it was used in the field, and presents findings on how individuals played the game. The paper concludes by discussing how these findings are being used in the design and broader extension of the index based insurance product
  • Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to present the methods and findings of an experimental game designed to extend the concept of index-based livestock insurance in northern Kenya, and analyze patterns of game play. The paper is designed to inform others who may be attempting something similar to this work in other developing country agricultural settings. Design/methodology/approach ? The paper presents the following: descriptive context of the issue, explanation of the game design to match the conditions in the area, details of how the authors explained the game, and regression analysis of play by participants. Findings ? Games designed to reflect key elements of the local production system can be an effective way of explaining financial products to rural producers in developing countries. Research limitations/implications ? It remains to be seen if the extension effort leads to more informed consumers of insurance products, which the authors hope to address in future work. Also, the approach described in this paper is very labor intensive, which could limit use in a wide ranging extension program. Social implications ? The authors were able to explain the idea to groups that were mixed: female and male. It will be interesting to see if there are any gender dimensions to insurance use. In addition, with competing claims to livestock with complex property rights, there is a need to monitor how insurance interacts with social ideas of livestock ownership. Originality/value ? This is a completely new idea in the area of arid and semi-arid livestock production, the challenge is pronounced, and as insurance becomes more important in the development economics toolkit, the authors believe others can benefit from seeing what they have done

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010
  • 2010