Micro insurance is the protection of low-income people against specific perils in exchange for regular premium payment proportionate to the likelihood and cost of the risks involved. This definition is exactly the same as one might use for regular insurance except for the clearly prescribed target market: low-income people. The target population typically consists of persons ignored by mainstream commercial and social insurance schemes, as well as persons who have not previously had access to appropriate insurance products. Definitions of micro insurance
1. Micro insurance is insurance with low premiums and low caps / coverage. In this definition, “micro” refers to the small financial transaction that each insurance policy generates. “General micro insurance product means health insurance contract, any contract covering the belongings, such as, hut, livestock or tools or instruments or any personal accident contract, either on individual or group basis, as per terms stated in Schedule-I appended to these regulations”; and “life micro insurance product” means any term insurance contract with or without return of premium, any endowment insurance contract or health insurance contract, with or without an accident benefit rider, either on individual or group basis, as per terms stated in Schedule-II appended to these regulations. </ref> as those within defined (low) minimum and maximum caps. The IRDA’s characterization of micro insurance by the product features is further complemented by their definition for micro insurance agents, those appointed by and acting for an insurer, for distribution of micro insurance products (and only those products). 2. Micro insurance is a financial arrangement to protect low-income people against specific perils in exchange for regular premium payments proportionate to the likelihood and cost of the risk involved. The author of this definition adds that micro-insurance does not refer to: (i) the size of the risk-carrier (some are small and even informal, others very large companies); (ii) the scope of the risk (the risks themselves are by no means “micro” to the households that experience them); (iii) the delivery channel: it can be delivered through a variety of different channels, including small community-based schemes, credit unions or other types of microfinance institutions, but also by enormous multinational insurance companies, etc. 3. Micro insurance is synonymous to community-based financing arrangements, including community health funds, mutual health organizations, rural health insurance, revolving drugs funds, and community involvement in user-fee management. Most community financing schemes have evolved in the context of severe economic constraints, political instability, and lack of good governance. The common feature within all, is the active involvement of the community in revenue collection, pooling, resource allocation and, frequently, service provision. 4. Micro insurance is the use of insurance as an economic instrument at the “micro” (i.e. smaller than national) level of society.  This definition integrates the above approaches into one comprehensive conceptual framework. It was first published in 1999, pre-dating the other three approaches, and has been noted to be the first recorded use of the term “micro insurance”. Under this definition, decisions in micro insurance are made within each unit, (rather than far away, at the level of governments, companies, NGOs that offer support in operations, etc.). Insurance functions on the concept of risk pooling, and likewise, regardless of its small unit size and its activities at the level of single communities, so does microinsurance. Micro insurance links multiple small units into larger structures, creating networks that enhance both insurance functions (through broader risk pools) and support structures for improved governance (i.e. training, data banks, research facilities, access to reinsurance...
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