Lena Giesbert / Susan Steiner

Perceptions of (Micro)Insurance in Southern Ghana: The Role of Information and Peer Effects

GIGA Working Paper, No. 183, December 2011

Abstract
This article investigates the understandings and perceptions of (micro)insurance among lowincome people in southern Ghana, using evidence from four focus group discussions. It analyzes how the focus group participants think about various types of insurance – among them a micro life insurance product – and how their negative and/or positive evaluations have come about. The evidence indicates that (micro)insurance is mostly positively perceived by the participants of the focus group discussions. However, it is also found that many people’s image of insurance is based on incomplete (and sometimes erroneous) information, or even on intuition. In addition, the experiences or opinions of peers turn out to be critical in shaping an individual’s perception of insurance. These two factors potentially have a contagious effect, which can lead to unreasonably positive or overly negative ideas about (micro )insurance. Such ideas, in turn, can become detrimental to the further distribution of microinsurance.

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Dr. Lena Giesbert is a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of African Affairs. She is the spokesperson for the Inclusive Societies Research Team, which is part of Research Programme 3: Growth and Development.

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