Relief and Recovery for Haiti Disaster Survivors

Apr 10, 2012

Insuring women-owned businesses against disaster

Small business owner benefits from MICRO
Small business owner benefits from MICRO

Haiti's economic growth depends on small-scale entrepreneurs. Because of their limited means, they assume huge risks, and there's little or no financial protection if something happens -- like an earthquake -- to shut down their business temporarily. They and their families would enjoy greater financial security if they were insured.

To address this need, Mercy Corps partnered with Fonkoze and other public- and private-sector funders to establish the Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation (MiCRO) in March

MiCRO’s initial product offers women micro-entrepreneurs protection against the economic aftermath of severe natural catastrophes, such as hurricanes, floods or earthquakes. The insurance costs 3 percent of the loan value, and is rolled into the loan. (The typical loan is between $200 and $250.)

MiCRO’s key innovation is the type of insurance it offers: a new loan product that blends both parametric and basis risk options. In this case, that means the remaining balance on the loan is forgiven and a fixed payout -- $125 U.S. -- is provided for rebuilding purposes. 

Rose Marie buys sugar and rice in Port-au-Prince, and then sells it to women in her village of Kolonbye. The 42-year-old lost all her merchandise in the heavy rains that pounded the region in August, and used the insurance payout to purchase new supplies. “I lost everything in the rains," she told me. "Thankfully because of this coverage I was able to continue my business right away.”

As of November 15, 2011, a total of 5,385 Fonkoze borrowers across Haiti have received USD $1.5 million in insurance benefits during the 2011 hurricane season. (Click here to read more about this.)

Mercy Corps programs are focused on recovery for hard-hit families and children.  We thank you for your support.

Market of Kolonbye open for business
Market of Kolonbye open for business



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Mercy Corps

Portland, OR, United States

Project Leader

Carlene Deits

Portland, Oregon United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Relief and Recovery for Haiti Disaster Survivors