Press Releases

IFC, Swiss Re Foster Index-Based Insurance Markets in Developing Countries

In Washington, D.C.:
Leila F. Search
Phone: + 202-473-7511

Washington, D.C., June 1, 2011— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions have joined forces to develop new insurance solutions in developing countries, particularly for farmers and people in agrarian communities, to help ease devastating impacts of natural disasters and weather risks.

The IFC-led Global Index Insurance Facility develops products and markets for index-based insurance products in developing markets, where losses resulting from weather and catastrophic events are assigned values on a predefined basis, using an index. When an event occurs, insurance payments are distributed to policyholders without having them wait for claims to be settled in the traditional way, ensuring needed timely payout, reducing administrative costs, and increasing access to finance for farmers and herders because banks are more willing to lend when they are insured.

“Innovative insurance products offer small farmers the tools they need to manage risks from unforeseeable events, giving them the certainty they need to grow their operations,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO. “Our partnership with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions will help us develop affordable new types of index-based insurance.”

The partnership will focus on solutions for the rural sector in Africa, and also consider index-based solutions in other emerging markets. Under the agreement, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions will provide technical services to the Global Index Insurance Facility projects and support strategic objectives through its long-standing experience in developing innovative risk transfer solutions for emerging markets.

“Supporting developing countries to become more resilient to major risks is a key objective for our company,” said Michel Liès, Chairman of Global Partnerships for Swiss Re. “Given the lack of efficient local insurance markets, partnerships with multilateral organizations like IFC play a central role in meeting this objective.”  

The European Union committed €24.5 million as the first donor to the Global Index Insurance Facility Trust Fund. The fund is also supported by Japan’s Ministry of Finance with an initial grant of $2 million, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which provided funding to establish the facility.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions offers innovative, high-quality insurance capacity for single and multi-line programmes worldwide. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions offers its capacity on a stand-alone basis or as part of structured and tailor-made solutions. In addition, it provides customised risk transfer solutions to large, multinational corporations across the globe to assist in mitigating their risk exposure. Swiss Re Corporate Solutions serves more than 50,000 customers across a network of 38 offices worldwide and is backed by the financial strength of the Swiss Re Group, a leading and highly diversified global reinsurer. For more information about Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, please visit

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