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Perceptions of (Micro)Insurance in Southern Ghana: The Role of Information and Peer Effects

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  • Lena Giesbert and Susan Steiner

    ()
    (GIGA Institute of Global and Area Studies)

Abstract

This article investigates the understandings and perceptions of (micro)insurance among lowincome people in southern Ghana, using evidence from four focus group discussions. It analyzes how the focus group participants think about various types of insurance – among them a micro life insurance product – and how their negative and/or positive evaluations have come about. The evidence indicates that (micro)insurance is mostly positively perceived by the participants of the focus group discussions. However, it is also found that many people’s image of insurance is based on incomplete (and sometimes erroneous) information, or even on intuition. In addition, the experiences or opinions of peers turn out to be critical in shaping an individual’s perception of insurance. These two factors potentially have a contagious effect, which can lead to unreasonably positive or overly negative ideas about (micro )insurance. Such ideas, in turn, can become detrimental to the further distribution of microinsurance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 183.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:183

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Keywords: microinsurance; risk management; perception; Ghana; focus groups JEL code: G22; O16;

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  1. Stefan Dercon, 2000. "Income risk, coping strategies and safety nets," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Susan Steiner & Lena Giesbert, 2010. "Microinsurance: A Large Untapped Market," Weekly Report, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 6(33), pages 245-249.
  3. Doss, Cheryl R., 1996. "Do Households Fully Share Risk? Evidence From Ghana," Staff Papers 13439, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
  4. Gin, Xavier & Yang, Dean, 2009. "Insurance, credit, and technology adoption: Field experimental evidencefrom Malawi," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 1-11, May.
  5. Xavier Giné & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2007. "Patterns of rainfall insurance participation in rural India," Staff Reports 302, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  6. Robert M. Townsend & Shawn Cole & Jeremy Tobacman & Xavier Gine & James Ian Vickery & Petia Topalova, 2012. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," IMF Working Papers 12/195, International Monetary Fund.
  7. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold, 2007. "Insurance for the Poor?," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-073, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Monique Cohen & Jennefer Sebstad, 2005. "Reducing vulnerability: the demand for microinsurance," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 397-474.
  9. Lena Giesbert & Susan Steiner & Mirko Bendig, 2011. "Participation in Micro Life Insurance and the Use of Other Financial Services in Ghana," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 78(1), pages 7-35, 03.
  10. Monique Cohen & Michael J. Mccord & Jennefer Sebstad, 2005. "Reducing vulnerability: demand for and supply of microinsurance in East Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 319-325.
  11. Wang, H. Holly & Rosenman, Robert, 2007. "Perceived need and actual demand for health insurance among rural Chinese residents," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 373-388.
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