Insurance against Losses from Natural Disasters in Developing Countries. Evidence, gaps and the way forward.
This paper examines recent experience with insurance and other risk-financing instruments in developing countries, informed by experience in developed countries, to provide insights on the effectiveness of insurance for reducing economic insecurity. Insurance and other risk financing strategies are viewed in the overall context of risk management, including the prevention of losses as well as financing the recovery process through risk pooling and transfer strategies. Specific examples of public-private insurance programs for households/businesses, farms and governments are described, including their limitations, especially in light of recent post-Katrina experience in the US. By examining the costs, benefits and risks of public-private risk-financing programs, insights are provided on the effectiveness of insurance as a mechanism for providing economic security to vulnerable communities and governments.