Arsht-Rock, SEWA and Blue Marble to launch parametric product to protect women workers in India


Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) has partnered with the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Blue Marble to provide a parametric insurance product to protect women workers in the informal sector.

According to a report from Insurance Innovation Reporter, the joint endeavour will protect women workers in the informal sector who face extreme heat using parametric insurance to automatically replace lost income.

SEWA is a 50-year old Indian trade union with 2.5 million female members. Blue Marble is a London-based technology company aiming to bring insurance protection to the disadvantaged.

A pilot of the programme will begin in April this year, as the hottest season and frequent heat waves begin in India.

Arsht-Rock, SEWA, and Blue Marble will target 21,000 SEWA members in Ahmedabad across a variety of occupations, from salt pan miners, waste recyclers, and head loaders, street vendors to farmers, ship breakers, construction, and home-based workers, to participate in phase one.

Once learning have been gathered from phase one, the goal is to quickly scale to the entire 2.5 million SEWA member community spanning 18 states and beyond.

The project is activated when specific heat conditions that are expected to result in negative health outcomes are met. At this point, a payment to SEWA members’ bank accounts is generated to compensate for the loss of income of unsafe working conditions.

In the first phase, the premium will be paid by the programme, not the workers, with a local insurer offering the cover.

Kathy Baughman McLeod, director, Arsht-Rock, said, “Women are profoundly and disproportionately impacted by climate change, particularly extreme heat, which claims more lives than any other climate hazard and is wreaking havoc on the lives of poor women.

“In India’s informal sector, women labor for prolonged periods of time in dangerously hot conditions which leads to preventable pain and suffering, ranging from lingering rashes, to infections, burns, and chronic heart and kidney disease. The Extreme Heat Income Insurance will ensure that these women don’t have to choose between protecting their health or their family’s financial security.”

Earlier this year, Floodbase, a climate adaptation technology company, released a flood solution for parametric hurricane policies and raised $12m in Series A funding.

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