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Microinsurance performance – a systematic narrative literature review

George Apostolakis (Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Breukelen, The Netherlands)
Gert van Dijk (TIAS, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)
Periklis Drakos (Department of Economics, Faculty of Social, Economic and Political Sciences, University of Crete, Greece)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




This study aims to offer a literature review on microinsurance, focusing on its financial performance and social impact. The aim is to review current research in microinsurance performance. Over the past decade, microinsurance has aroused the interest of the scientific community. Scholars have monitored its development and have examined its impact on the poor’s ability of breaking out of the poverty trap.


A systematic-narrative method was used to review the relevant literature. In total, 64 relevant articles on investigating the financial performance and the effects of microinsurance programs on the poor’s well-being were reviewed, coded and followed by a narrative synthesis.


This review synthesizes current published data on microinsurance to provide practitioners and researchers with a better understanding of this important area. Microinsurance benefits the poor, as it reduces their vulnerability to poverty. Microinsurance has a twofold impact on an individual’s ability to overcome poverty. First, it has a direct impact on access to healthcare services and, second, it has an indirect effect on an individual’s economic status, by moderating risk vulnerability and improving income stability. Further research is necessary to reach concrete conclusions about the financial performance of microinsurance programs. Finally, the analysis of the literature revealed an absence of research regarding the impact of microinsurance on society and sustainable development.

Research limitations/implications

An understanding of the performance of microinsurance services is important. Therefore, the findings can be used by microinsurance practitioners to assess and improve their performance. Further, policy implications such as improvement of financial knowledge and social marketing via education polices to increase microinsurance awareness of its benefits are recommended.


This review provides a synthesis of the literature in microinsurance concerning its financial and social performance, and raises suggestions for future research.



The authors are grateful to Toon Bullens for his valuable assistance and suggestions. They are equally thankful to the reviewers for their comments.


Apostolakis, G., van Dijk, G. and Drakos, P. (2015), "Microinsurance performance – a systematic narrative literature review", Corporate Governance, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 146-170.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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