Animal insurance and farmer's behavior in Vietnam

Most poor people in developing countries make their living from agriculture; hence, their livelihood is subject to various risks such as livestock disease, flooding, drought, and fluctuations in the price of agricultural products. One method of dealing with risk is insurance. However insurance markets in developing countries are seriously impacted by adverse selection and moral hazard, derived from information asymmetry. Livestock insurance was introduced in Vietnam as a pilot project in 2011–2013. We examine the factors behind the decision to take out insurance, from the viewpoint of moral hazard or adverse selection in Vietnam. The results suggest that, if there are few trustworthy people locally, the rate of time discounting is lower and farmers will purchase insurance coverage. Further, the higher the number of calvings, and therefore the older the cows owned by a farmer, the more likely he/she is to take out livestock insurance. The analysis of results also reveals a low level of existence of adverse selection and moral hazard with respect to livestock insurance in the surveyed areas. The incidence of livestock diseases covered by insurance is currently low. Many dairy farmers expressed their wish for insurance coverage to be expanded to include other diseases such as mastitis and hoof disease. Expanding the range of diseases covered by insurance would introduce an additional financial burden. As a consequence, the system of surveillance and penalties would need to be strengthened.