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Study Overview

Creating Informed Demand and Impacts through Innovative and Cost Effective Extension
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Study Status:
In Development
Pastoralists in the Horn of Africa have little or no access to insurance for their primary asset, livestock. Since 2010, ILRI scientists and their collaborators have been working to improve and market an index based livestock insurance (IBLI) contract for the region that protects households from the shock of livestock mortality due to drought. As the insurance providers continue to expand their market across northern Kenya, they have struggled to develop a sustainable market for two interconnected reasons—growth in demand has been slow and the costs of extension are high. This research focuses on testing the suite of innovative extension tools and methodologies that we developed and piloted with the support of 3IE’s formative grant. We plan to experiment with a range of permutations of the nature, content, and delivery of extension and information delivery tools in order to increase their cost effectiveness, catalyze informed demand, and ultimately increase impacts.
Agriculture and Rural Development
Information and Communications Technology
Private Sector Development
Additional Keywords:
Agricultural insurance
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Principal Investigator(s)

Name of First PI:
Nathan Jensen
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Intervention Overview

This research will use variation in insurance agent training and in extension activities to prospective insurance clients in order to determine the impact of training methods and extension on insurance product knowledge, the impact of that knowledge on sales/uptake, and the impact of product knowledge among clients on the welfare impacts of insurance coverage.
Theory of Change:
Pastoralists in northern Kenya rely on livestock for most of their income (McPeak et al. 2011). Drought, which is the leading cause of livestock mortality, periodically decimate herd-wealth and reduces milk and offspring income dramatically. Furthermore, some coping strategies, such as distress selling of livestock, taking children out of school, reducing intake of nutritious food can have long-term and negative impacts on households’ productivity, making them more vulnerable in the future. Theoretically, insurance should support the resilience of pastoral households by mitigating the impacts of drought on income and reducing the need to employ negative coping strategies. Evidence from the region shows that households that purchased IBLI coverage reduce distress sales of livestock during droughts (when prices are lowest), increase investments in livestock health services, and smooth consumption across drought more than do their counterparts (Janzen & Carter; Jensen et al. 2017). This research will test the hypothesised links between training and extension or product understanding among prospective clients, the impact of product understanding on uptake, and the role of product understanding on the welfare impacts of insurance coverage.
Multiple Treatment Arms Evaluated?

Intervention Timing

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Evaluation Method

Evaluation Method Overview

Primary (or First) Evaluation Method:
Randomized control trial
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Additional Evaluation Method (If Any):
Instrumental variables
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Method Details

Details of Evaluation Approach:
This research will be implemented in two components, which are geographically separate. The first component includes randomised two treatments, a training treatments on insurance sales agents and an extension treatment on prospective clients, over four treatment arms: 1) training control, extension control, 2) training control, extension treatment, 3) training treatment, extension control, 4) training treatment, extension treatment. The second component includes two treatments on prospective clients, a randomised insurance premium discount and an extension treatment, over four treatment arms: 1) premium control, extension control, 2) premium control, extension treatment, 3) premium treatment, extension control, 4) premium treatment, extension treatment.
Outcomes (Endpoints):
For the agent training treatment arms, the intermediate outcomes are agent understanding of the product and sales, and the primary outcome is understanding of the product among those the agent interacted with. For the extension treatment arms, the intermediate outcomes are understanding of the product and demand, and the primary outcome is impact of insurance on welfare. For the coupon discount treatment arms, the intermediate outcome is insurance coverage and the primary outcome is the is impact of insurance on welfare.
Unit of Analysis:
Agent and household
1. Mobile-based refresher courses improve agents’ product understanding. 2. Agents that better understand the product have clients that better understand the product. 3. Providing extension services directly to individuals improves their product understanding. 4. Individuals that better understand the product are more likely to purchase the product. 5. Clients that better understand the product, benefit more from it.
Unit of Intervention or Assignment:
Component 1: Insurance agent region. Component 2: Individual
Number of Clusters in Sample:
Component 1: TBD. Component 2: 1875
Number of Individuals in Sample:
Component 1: TBD. Component 2: 1875
Size of Treatment, Control, or Comparison Subsamples:
Component 1: TBD. Component 2: 1875

Outcomes Data

Component 1: Insurance administrative data, scores on product knowledge tests Component 2: Household survey
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Data Analysis

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Study Materials

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Prospective, Category 1: Data for measuring impacts have not been collected

Completion Overview

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Study Stopped