MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Sri Lanka’s SANASA Installing 35 Weather Stations, Expanding Index Insurance for Rice Farmers to Pepper, Cinnamon Growers

SANASA Insurance Company Limited, a member of Sri Lanka’s cooperative SANASA group, recently installed the first of 35 weather stations funded by a donation from Desjardins Financial Security, an insurer within the Canadian cooperative Desjardins Group. The stations expand an existing network supporting SANASA Insurance’s provision of index insurance to rice farmers, whereby the farmers are paid when weather conditions are not conducive to healthy crops rather than based on individual insurance claims. The new stations are intended to improve the provision of insurance for rice farmers as well as allowing SANASA Insurance to expand to serving pepper and cinnamon farmers.

The new weather stations are part of a project funded by Global Affairs Canada, a unit of the Canadian government, and carried out by Développement international Desjardins (DiD), another member of the Desjardins Group. This larger project is intended to help SANASA work with “entrepreneurs in targeted value chains to allow for sustainable growth in their operations and increased financial security.” Most of the clients being served under the program are women.

SANASA Insurance evolved from All Lanka Mutual Organizations, an entity founded in 1991. As the organization explains, “The term SANASA is the Sinhala acronym for a Thrift, Credit and Cooperative Society.” SANASA Insurance now offers vehicle, agricultural, life and other types of insurance. While financial information on the organization is not available, SANASA Development Bank (SDB Bank), another SANASA affiliate, had LKR 66 billion (USD 430 million) in total assets and LKR 617 million (USD 4 million) in profit before taxes in 2016. SBD Bank was established in 1997 and offers deposits, loans, pawning, money transfers and foreign currency services.

DiD provides technical support and investment for the community finance sector in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. It owns or supports Entrepreneur Financial Centres (EFCs) in Haiti, Panama, Sri Lanka and four African countries. It also operates the Partnership Fund and the Desjardins Fund for Inclusive Finance, which provide loans and investment capital to microfinance institutions and microfinance funds. Together, DiD’s partner microfinance institutions reach approximately 10.9 million families and entrepreneurs as of 2016.

The Desjardins Group, a financial cooperative offering banking, insurance, securities and investment services, with approximately CAD 258 billion (USD 213 billion) in assets as of 2016.

Sources and Additional Resources

DiD press release

History of SANASA Insurance

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