SOURCE: Opportunity International

Opportunity International

June 11, 2009 17:29 ET

Opportunity International's MicroEnsure Receives Prestigious Sustainable Banking Award From the Financial Times

Recognized for Innovative Weather Index Crop Insurance

OAK BROOK, IL--(Marketwire - June 11, 2009) - Opportunity International subsidiary MicroEnsure, the world's first insurance intermediary for people living in poverty, has won the 2009 Financial Times Sustainable Banking Award for Achievement in Basic Needs Financing. MicroEnsure was recognized for its pioneering development of weather index crop insurance in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The Sustainable Banking Awards, organized by the Financial Times and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, recognize banks and other financial institutions that have shown leadership and innovation in integrating social, environmental and corporate governance considerations into their operations. This year's nominees were selected from among 165 entries from 117 institutions across 42 countries.

"We are pleased to receive this prestigious award for our efforts to bring a full range of financial services to those working their way out of poverty," said Kadita "A.T." Tshibaka, president and CEO, Opportunity International. "By providing understandable, affordable and scalable microinsurance products, we help people in developing countries manage their financial risk so they can continue to improve their lives."

MicroEnsure's weather index crop insurance protects farmers from the financial risks associated with adverse weather conditions such as drought, excess water, or even typhoons. It enables the secure extension of credit for the purchase of quality farm inputs such as drought-resistant seed and fertilizer, which results in higher yields, often 200 percent or more, increased incomes and diversification into cash crops and non-crop revenue streams.

MicroEnsure has piloted crop insurance programs in Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, India and the Philippines, covering a variety of crops including rice, maize and tomatoes. The agency also offers credit life, term life/funeral, property and health insurance.

About Opportunity International and MicroEnsure

Opportunity International provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training in basic business practices to people living in poverty. Entrepreneurs in the developing world use these financial services to start or expand a business, develop a steady income, provide for their families and create jobs for their neighbors. Opportunity serves clients in 27 countries around the world. MicroEnsure, a subsidiary of Opportunity International, is an insurance intermediary serving the poor with an affordable and appropriate range of insurance products. The agency has more than 815,000 policyholders in 10 countries. For more information, visit www.opportunity.org or www.microensure.com.

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