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

  • Lena Giesbert
  • Susan Steiner

This article investigates the understandings and perceptions of (micro)insurance among low-income 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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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.394251.de/dp1194.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1194.

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Length: 33 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1194
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  1. Petia Topalova & Shawn Cole & Xavier Gene & Jeremy Tobacman & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2011. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," Working Papers id:4293, eSocialSciences.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Gine, Xavier & Yang, Dean, 2007. "Insurance, credit, and technology adoption : field experimental evidence from Malawi," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4425, The World Bank.
  5. Stefan Dercon & Tessa Bold, 2007. "Insurance for the Poor?," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-073, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Xavier Giné & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2008. "Patterns of Rainfall Insurance Participation in Rural India," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(3), pages 539-566, October.
  7. Stefan Dercon, 2000. "Income risk, coping strategies and safety nets," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-26, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Doss, Cheryl R., 1996. "Do Households Fully Share Risk? Evidence From Ghana," Staff Papers 13439, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
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