Image background by Mark Rothko, No 301, 1959 (via Daily Rothko Tumblr Blog).
‘On a hot morning in Nairobi in 2014, Andrew Mude, Team Leader for the Index-Based Livestock Insurance program (IBLI hereafter), looked out of his office window at cows grazing on Ngong Hills’ green pastures, but his mind was elsewhere.
‘In a few hours, he had to attend an executive management meeting where he was expected to recommend IBLI’s next steps. But Mude was still undecided: should he recommend that the IBLI team focus exclusively on its current sites in northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, and work to develop IBLI into a large-scale, proven and sustainable program in these regions? Or should he go along with demands to expand quickly to multiple sites worldwide? It was necessary for IBLI to grow, but Mude was not yet sure of the direction and trajectory of its growth.
‘IBLI, developed by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with Cornell University, and the BASIS Research Program at the University of California at Davis, was the first index-based insurance product that protected poor pastoralists in drought-stricken areas in Africa from losing their primary asset—livestock. Studies by Janzen et al. (2013) had shown that IBLI coverage had a significant impact on these pastoralists’ assets, investments and consumption capacity. . . .
‘The goal was clear: to grow IBLI. But when and how should this growth take place? If IBLI stayed in Kenya, how could it keep donors happy and build a sustainable program? If they moved to new countries, how could they use their insights to be successful elsewhere, while ensuring that the Kenyan and Ethiopian programs were not adversely affected? Could they do it all, or would they have to choose? Being either overzealous or over cautious could harm IBLI. As ILRI’s senior management team gathered together to plan its 2015–2017 cycle, it was time for Mude to present a clearer, better direction for IBLI. . . .’
About this case study
‘Made popular by their extensive use at Harvard Business School, case studies are an effective and popular teaching tool employed by business schools worldwide. Management case studies present a real-world management or business decision faced by an organization, and are used by instructors to teach students how to think critically through such problems.
‘Case studies use a mix of data, interviews and exhibits to give some background and context about a range of complex challenges faced by an organization’s stakeholders. While case studies use a real-life situation as a tool for discussion, they are not necessarily representative of all the facts, nor do they aim to delineate the right course of action. Cases may present alternate trajectories or options, but are generally devoid of any conclusions. They do not disclose the eventual decisions made by the case protagonist or the outcomes achieved. Instead, students are asked to use the facts and explanations within the case to discuss possible solutions and arrive at their own recommendations or decisions. This benefits students by putting them in the place of the real stakeholders and simulating a real-world decision making environment. Cases are thus designed to illustrate a complex problem fully, and to facilitate learning by encouraging students to develop their own solutions.
‘While case studies are mostly based on realistic scenarios and information, some creative license may be employed for teaching purposes. Cases are often accompanied by comprehensive teaching notes, accessible only to the instructors of the case, who may also choose to teach the case with the help of supplementary readings and lectures.
Iddo Dror says: ‘This case asks students to focus on growth strategy for a specialized insurance product for the poor. It focuses on the challenges and opportunities of establishing index-based livestock insurance (IBLI) in locations with large populations of poor pastoralists.
‘Students will consider various pressures from the market, governments, donors and partners faced by a nonprofit organization running a socially beneficial program. They will also explore when and how an insurance product serving the poor and vulnerable should be expected to become commercially sustainable and the consideration of donor interests when determining the future direction of non profit projects.’
Iddo Dror prepared this case study with case writer Shreya Maheshwari and IBLI team leader Andrew Mude as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. This case was prepared in collaboration with the IBLI team and benefited from useful insights by a range of partners and collaborators of the IBLI program.
Read the whole case study: Using satellite data to insure camels, cows, sheep and goats: IBLI and the development of the world’s first insurance for African pastoralists, by Iddo Dror, Shreya Maheshwari and Andrew Mude.