Protecting the Poor with Microinsurance

Ermie Mayor arrived at her mother’s house after making the rounds in Dayhagan Pilar, Balasan Iloilo. She had sold a whole bilao (winnowing basket) of banana-que (deep fried bananas with caramelized sugar on a stick) and bicho bicho (deep fried doughnut coated with brown sugar) that her mother prepared in the morning. She had been sweltering under the blazing afternoon sun while balancing a bilao on her head, stopping by the nearby school and houses to offer her mother’s special banana-que and bicho bicho. She made about 500 PHP ($11.90) in profits each week — barely enough to feed Ashley, her four-year-old daughter and Jun, her six-month-old baby.

She missed Bonifacio, her husband, a skilled furniture manufacturer, who was temporarily assigned in the beach area to make furniture for a building owner. She had met him in Boracay when she was an office assistant for a small firm. After they married and settled in Balasan, Ermie borrowed funds from Progressive Bank to finance her husband’s furniture-making. Progressive Bank’s microcredit loans come with a microinsurance product that covers the borrower and two dependents. The microinsurance offered through the bank in partnership with an insurance company is designed as a low-cost policy suitable for low-income people.

In this photo taken in January 2012, Ermie Mayor carries her year-old baby in front of their house in Balayan, Iloilo. Microinsurance helped Ms. Mayor and her family get back on their feet after her husband’s sudden death.

One stormy night in April 2011, Bonifacio was struck and killed by lightning. His death was a shock to Ermie and her children, but the microinsurance from Progressive Bank and its insurance partner, Pioneer Insurance Company, helped her and her family continue with their lives.

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