Paper

Evaluation Fundamentals

Highlighting the importance of impact evaluations in microinsurance
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This paper discusses the relevance of impact evaluations in microinsurance. Impact evaluations try to measure the change in a participant’'s life that occurred because of an intervention. They focus on the intervention’s outcomes.Impact evaluations need to establish that the intervention caused a difference in the participants’' lives. Not separating the impact of the intervention from that of other confounding factors could lead to under or overestimating the impact of microinsurance. The constitution of control and treatment groups is fundamental to eliminating selection bias. Evaluators must carefully define their intervention and place it in a larger context. Conclusions include:
  • Interventions need time to produce impact;
  • Long term impacts are more difficult to attribute to the intervention;
  • Cost benefit calculations should accompany impact evaluations;
  • Care must be taken while extrapolating to other settings;
  • Evaluations must be designed specifically to measure the impact of access to, or use of, the intervention;
  • Counterfactuals are the key to credible evaluations.
Understanding the impact of their operations on client participation and well being can enable practitioners to design better products and services, thereby increasing scale, sustainability, and social impact.