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September 12, 2011 Insure the Poor

The hunger crisis in East Africa has once again demonstrated that the poorest of the poor are the first ones to suffer from natural catastrophes. To be able to cope with such catastrophes, and with other financial shocks, the poor need insurance, just like other people. “To reach the poorest of the poor we need to go new ways,” says Kiel Institute researcher Prof. Dr. Ulrich Schmidt in describing the challenge facing the panelists at the Global Economic Symposium (GES) 2011 panel session entitled Insuring the Poor. Further, Schmidt says that it would be particularly difficult to establish a system involving commercial insurers in the short term, as “the poor are not an interesting target group for insurance companies.” In addition, they do not have a good understanding of financial interactions. Therefore, what is needed is an insurance system that is provided by governments and NGOs.

In a manner similar to the microcredits, which are becoming increasingly popular in developing countries, microinsurance could help to resolve the problem. In return for an appropriate premium, it would provide protection against unforeseeable events and could be tailored to the specific needs of particular target groups. Studies would be needed to determine how microinsurance could effectively contribute to alleviating poverty in developing countries.

What effect would microinsurance have on the economic development of developing countries? How could experience with microcredits be applied to microinsurance? How could the poorest of the poor be reached using a microinsurance system? These and other questions will be discussed at the Global Economic Symposium in Kiel.

Kiel will turn into a think tank on 4–6 October, when more than 400 high-ranking experts from business, government, academia, and civil societies will meet for the fourth Global Economic Symposium (GES), which is being jointly hosted by the Kiel institute for the World Economy and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, in cooperation with the German National Library of Economics (ZBW) – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. Among those expected to participate are Hans-Paul Bürkner, President and CEO of the Boston Consulting Group, René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, Joaquín Almunia, Commissioner for Competition, European Commission, Yves Leterme, Prime Minister of Belgium, Anders Borg, Finance Minister, Sweden, Mehmet Şimşek, Minister of Finance, Turkey, and Erik Stark Maskin and Oliver E. Williamson, both Nobel laureates in economics.

To register to attend, please submit the accreditation application form by September 19. It may not be possible to accept late registrations for security reasons. Applications made on the days of the event will not be accepted. Our media agency will gladly help you arrange interviews. Please mention on your accreditation application form whom you would like to interview.

Please note that the conference will be held in English.

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