One Million Insured: How One CEO Helped Change the Insurance Landscape in Zambia

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Smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa are some of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and adverse weather events. Weather-based index insurance can help farmers become more resilient by giving them a tool to manage their risk, protect their investment, and maintain their livelihood. But the insurance industry in the region has been slow to develop these products, mostly because they lack the necessary technical skills and capacity; high-level training helps develop these skills to create new and innovative index-based insurance products in the regional market, which in turn will increase insurance penetration to rural and low-income markets in Africa. 
In May 2017, Mr. Hashit Patel (far left), CEO of Mayfair Insurance Zambia attended such a training in Accra, organized by the GIIF team in Africa, working with the IFC Nigeria office and Africa Re. Equipped with the technical knowledge and decision-making skills he had learned in the training, Mr. Patel returned to Zambia determined to convince his board members to expand their agricultural insurance business line. He was successful, thanks to his intervention and the GIIF support that followed, Mayfair successfully expanded their agricultural insurance business line.
Through a Public-Private Partnership with the government of Zambia, Mayfair was able to underwrite index insurance to cover 1.05 million farmers, in time for the new season. Although the season has not yet ended, over 412,000 farmers have already qualified for payouts so far. They will receive these payouts at the end of the season, helping them to secure sources of food, buy household items, and reinvest in working capital.