When Will the Rains Come? CASE Announces New Partnership with Mercy Corps Ventures focused on scaling the promise of microinsurance for smallholder farmers

Picture courtesy of One Acre Fund

If I plant at the wrong time, I will have lost my investment in seed and fertilizer – and can’t replant.

If the rains don’t come, I won’t have enough yield to feed my family.

If I can’t access credit, I can’t increase my yield, diversify, or innovate.

These are just three of the problematic scenarios facing the more than 500 million smallholder farm households around the world that microinsurance aims to help solve.  Through a new partnership with Mercy Corps Ventures (MCV), the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, will help funders and social enterprises better understand the potential of crop microinsurance as a tool to bolster smallholder farmer resilience and adaptation to climate change.

CASE and MCV have worked together since 2016 on Scaling Pathways, an initiative to cultivate and share insights from some of the world’s most successful social enterprises on their journeys to impact at scale.

“Building on what we’ve learned through Scaling Pathways, CASE is excited to deepen our partnership with Mercy Corps Ventures to help investors and social enterprises understand the key levers to bolster the impact of microinsurance for the smallholder farmer population, ” said CASE Executive Director Erin Worsham. “Scaling the impact of microinsurance holds promise for breaking the cycle of poverty among a group of people where poverty is globally concentrated: smallholder farmers.”

Over the next six months CASE will conduct a landscape analysis and interview selected social enterprises, investors, and other intermediaries engaged in crop microinsurance provision in order to surface trends and insights.  In fall 2021, CASE will publish an article series focused on questions such as:

  • Business models for scaling microinsurance: Who is the doer, who is the payer, and what is covered? What public-private partnership models exist?
  • How can microinsurance providers build trust with and demonstrate value to customers? What are best practices in acquiring and retaining customers?
  • How might scaling microinsurance be a lever for climate adaptation and resilience?
  • What is the potential of technology in innovating towards and enabling microinsurance scale?
  • From an investor perspective, what are the risks and opportunities in funding microinsurance?
  • What are other mechanisms showing promise in building farmer resilience and providing safety nets?

Visit Scaling Pathways to learn more about CASE’s initial insights on how One Acre Fund is scaling to change the lives of smallholder farm families and subscribe to CASE’s newsletter to learn when articles from this new partnership are available.