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Shockwatch - Savings and insurance

This project will investigate the link between global financial vulnerability and the financial products made available to the poor, with particular focus on savings and insurance products. It will also explore whether and how these financial products can indeed build the resilience of the poorest people to a range of shocks, including economic and non-economic shocks.

The focus will be on forms of insurance for the loss of property, crops or livestock (and so excludes health and life insurance, which are separate insurance markets) along with mechanisms for savings. It will incorporate both a global overview and a focus on two national contexts; Nigeria and Tanzania.

The key research questions are:

  • What savings and insurance products are currently used by poor people and how has the global economic crisis influenced these products and their access?
  • What are the main challenges to including the poorest within existing products?
  • How could savings and insurance schemes be better designed to build the resilience of the poorest people?
  • To what extent are the poorest people incorporated into savings and insurance products in the two case study countries and has this improved their resilience to different types of shock?
The initial focus will be on the two country case studies, to allow detailed investigation of the key national and subnational barriers to promoting pro-poorest savings and insurance. The next stage will be the identification of global ‘best practice’. This will include developing a typology of savings and insurance approaches and how the poorest have, and could, benefit from these. This will draw both on a review of the literature and existing impact evaluations as well as interviews with a range of insurance and savings providers to identify the key challenges in including the poorest households and how these can be overcome.


Lucy Scott, Chiara Mariotti

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