CGAP Working Group on Microinsurance Good and Bad Practices: VimoSEWA, Case Study No. 16

  • Date Posted: June 2, 2010
  • Authors: Denis Garand
  • Organizations/Projects: Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest
  • Document Types: Case Study or Vignette
  • Donor Type: Multilateral Organization

The Self-Employed Women’s Association's (SEWA) main goals are to organize women workers for full employment, so they can obtain income, food and social security. Besides forming a union, SEWA has created a bank, childcare co-operatives, a training academy, other cooperatives, a health programme—and has developed VimoSEWA to provide insurance benefits.

VimoSEWA began in 1992 as a “trust” operated by the SEWA union. It provides a voluntary, integrated insurance product, which is the most challenging type of microinsurance. It is open to all members, whether or not they have a loan, and provides life, accident, health and asset protection to a group that has higher risks and lower incomes than the “normal” insurance market.

The liberalization of the Indian insurance market in the late 1990s permitted VimoSEWA to dream of forming a member-owned insurance company to serve the informal economy. This case study focuses on the evolution of VimoSEWA since the development of the business plan for the new venture.

This paper was commissioned by the “Good and Bad Practices in Microinsurance” project. Managed by the ILO’s Social Finance Programme for the CGAP Working Group on Microinsurance, this project is jointly funded by SIDA, DFID, GTZ, and the ILO. The major outputs of this project are:

  1. A series of case studies to identify good and bad practices in microinsurance.
  2. A synthesis document of good and bad practices in microinsurance for practitioners based on an analysis of the case studies. The major lessons from the case studies will also be published in a series of two-page briefing notes for easy access by practitioners.
  3. Donor guidelines for funding microinsurance.