International Workshop on Social-Ecological Effects of Microinsurance under Climate Change
by Meike Will
From February 4-6, the POLISES working group organized an international workshop within the DFG-funded (Social-Ecological Effects of Microinsurance) on the topic “Exploring the effects of microinsurance – synergies of different methodological approaches”.
Microinsurance products, i.e. insurance products specifically designed for the needs of low-income people in developing countries, are seen as a promising tool for economic development, and are therefore strongly promoted and supported by governments. However, such policies apart from direct positive effects may have unintended side effects. Additionally, global change processes affecting both social structures and ecological conditions complicate insurance design. For agricultural insurance in particular, changing climate conditions and an increased risk of extreme droughts influence the effectiveness of existing types of insurance.
Currently, various methodological approaches such as household surveys, behavioral games, agro-economic models or agent-based models are used to investigate the effects of microinsurance on informal safety nets and on strategies for natural resource use. With this workshop, we brought together scientists with diverse backgrounds including economics, agricultural science, ecology and anthropology that apply these types of methods to tackle effects and potential design of microinsurance products. We used the three days to reflect on the potential and limits of the different methodological approaches and opportunities for cross-fertilization between methods, specifically regarding a better linking of modelling approaches and empirical studies. As microinsurance has both socio-economic as well as ecological implications, such an intertwined approach is crucial to foster a sustainable insurance design.
Workshop participants: Annika Backes (POLISES), Lee Cronk (Rutgers University, New Brunswick), Gunnar Dreßler (POLISES), Christoph Gornott (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – PIK), Jürgen Groeneveld (German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research – iDiv), Lemlem Habtemariam (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – PIK), Kati Krähnert (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research – PIK), Martin Kraus (POLISES), Friederike Lenel (University of Göttingen), Birgit Müller (POLISES), Daniel Osgood (International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University, New York), Masresha Taye (University of Sussex), Meike Will (POLISES)