When Cows Attack (with video)!

Juhudi Kilimo CFO: Kevin, when you’re out in Litein, make sure you ear-tag at least one cow for our Micro Insurance program.
Me: Ummm yea, I may pass on that one, but I’ll think about it.


Microfinance… To most people this word is synonymous with providing small loans to very low-income entrepreneurs. But microfinance is so much more than that. It involves Microcredit, Microsavings, and our topic today, Micro Insurance. Most people are surprised to learn that many of Kiva’s Field Partners offer these different services to clients, and I admit that I did not really understand all of this before arriving in Nairobi.

Micro Insurance at Juhudi Kilimo is one of the most important services offered to clients, and because of recent competition, premiums keep getting lower. As of now, the cost to insure a dairy cow is 4% of the price of the cow, per year, and is mandatory for clients. Since there have been over 5,000 loans in recent years for dairy cows, this is big business for Juhudi Kilimo.

Juhudi works with C.I.C. Insurance in Kenya, the current market leader in Micro Insurance services. Loan officers here do the initial assessment after a client purchases a cow, and Juhudi submits the forms to C.I.C. along with the premium payment. In the event that a cow dies, a Juhudi loan officer will assist in the autopsy process with a licensed Agrovet owner and handle all the paperwork and payments with the insurance company.

Another interesting Micro Insurance service that Juhudi Kilimo provides is mandatory life insurance for the client. The premium is set at 1% of the loan amount, and covers the outstanding loan balance in the event a client passes away.

All of these services are designed to protect clients and their income-producing assets. In the event of an unexpected death, a client or their family is protected and they are not forced to shoulder a burden they are incapable of paying. This keeps the default rate low, and also provides a relief system where no cycle of debt is necessary to pay off outstanding loan balances when tragedy occurs.

The video above is my rather weak attempt at ear-tagging a Juhudi cow. It normally takes only 2-3 people to restrain and tag a cow, but this was no ordinary cow! We also had a problem where C.I.C. sent us new tags that do not seem as strong plastic, making the whole process much more strenuous than need be. Thankfully this issue has been addressed and new, better tags are being issued again for future tagging. Yea, I know, excuses excuses, but I’m sticking with that reasoning.

And in case anyone is wondering, I will NOT be attempting to ear-tag any more cows! My first, and last, attempt was sufficient for me, and I’ll leave it to the clients or loan officers from here on out to perform the task, as I’m quite happy being an interested observer. I would also like to point out that in almost all cases, the cow does not suffer during this process. It is quite similar to a human having an ear-piercing, where there will obviously be a bit of discomfort, but it is short-lived and not as painful as it may seem.

Kevin Chaissan is a member of the 10th class of Kiva Fellows, stationed in Kenya, working with Juhudi Kilimo. He is seeking to help move the new Field Partner from Pilot to Active stage in order to increase their funding on Kiva and maximize their impact on poor, rural farmers across Kenya looking to gain access to capital.

About the author