Building resilience is a work in progress
Misfortunes affect us all; whether ill health, accident, theft, unemployment, or other personal troubles. In the same way, no one is entirely immune from the negative consequences of weather-related or man- made perils such as very strong winds, flooding, drought, earthquake, terrorism, or catastrophic accidents. What does vary, however, is people’s ability to bounce back from unforeseen events. Generally speaking those living in emerging markets are less able to recover from setbacks that impact their longer term prosperity and broader economic development. One of the reasons for this is that four billion people – over half of the world’s population - are currently not served or are underserved by insurance markets. Many of these people might earn an income (though perhaps not on a regular or full time basis) and possess assets, yet they may have limited or zero access to insurance. With
no form of supportive infrastructure, those with little disposable income could be one crop failure or family illness away from slipping back into deprivation. These “uninsured” populations are not without risk management tools. They may have access to other means of support and societal networks to protect them and their families from adverse events. Or, they may cope with setbacks by borrowing from friends or family, selling assets, reducing food consumption, cutting healthcare expenses, or taking children out of school and putting them to work. 1 But having to resort to these methods can undermine resilience and hamper economic progress for the individual and their community. Those with no coping strategies – or who have exhausted them – may simply sink back into poverty.
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