This study evaluates the impact of making livestock insurance products digitally accessible and delivered through mobiles phones on uptake of insurance by farmers.
Despite possessing the largest dairy cattle population in the world accompanied by the presence of a livestock insurance market since the 1970s, the overall coverage of livestock insurance in India does not exceed even 7% of the total cattle population. Several factors have contributed to the low uptake of livestock insurance in India – high operational costs, cumbersome processes burdened with extensive paper documentation and difficulties in verification of claims, higher insurance premiums and lack of awareness of insurance products to name a few. This has prevented farmers living in remote rural locations from accessing valuable insurance products and services, leading to the exclusion of more risk prone segments of small and marginal farmers.
This study, conducted in collaboration with HDFC ERGO in Gujarat, explores the possibilities of making livestock insurance products and services digitally accessible through mobile phones by conducting a randomized evaluation of its Android-based application that digitizes the marketing, enrolment and claim settlement process of a livestock product. It involves using mobile applications to collect, store and verify data of customers/livestock, thereby reducing manual interventions, operational costs as well as turnaround time in issuance of insurance and claim settlement. The first phase of the project involves a formative evaluation of the process innovation. This will be followed by a randomized control trial which evaluates the process intervention on specific outcomes of interest, such as take-up, retention rate which speaks of how livestock farmers perceive insurance as a product, life time value and so on. Roll out of the improved app based process will be preceded by a marketing and awareness campaign.
By leveraging a technology platform that has made deep inroads everywhere in India, the proposed process intervention hopes to increase the uptake of livestock insurance among rural communities, especially low-income households. The app-based distribution of livestock insurance products will address challenges like extensive paper documentation, cumbersome processes, delays in claim settlements and higher premiums. It will also improve accessibility for farmers residing in remote locations, who otherwise receive little attention from insurance providers.