Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Group-Based Funeral Insurance in Ethiopia and Tanzania

Dercon, Stefan
De Weerdt, Joachim
Volume: 34
Number: 4
Pages: 685 - 703
Month: April
ISSN-Print: 0305-750X
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2006
Keywords: Risk Sharing; Insurance; Africa; Ethiopia; Tanzania
Abstract: A funeral is a costly occasion. This paper studies indigenous insurance institutions developed to cope with the high costs of funerals, based on evidence from rural areas in Tanzania and Ethiopia. These institutions were found to be highly prevalent in the study areas. They are based on well-defined rules and regulations, often offering premium-based insurance for funeral expenses. Increasingly, they are also offering other forms of insurance and credit to cope with hardship. The paper argues that the characteristics and inclusiveness of these institutions make them potentially well placed as models to broaden insurance provision and other developmental activities in these communities. The history of these institutions is characterized by a resistance to attempts of political capture, and helps to understand their apparent opposition to engage more broadly with NGOs and government agencies. As a result, any attempt to expand their activities will have to be done cautiously.