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In the late 1800s, agents in the U.S. representing Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. traveled door to door each week collecting industrial life insurance premiums from poor workers. Today, in the world’s developing countries, insurers are collecting life and property insurance premiums from the working poor directly through a country’s utility providers or a worker’s cell phone.

Although the basic concept is the same—providing low premium, low coverage protection for the working poor—commercial insurers are banking on the growth of developing countries to justify their investments in microinsurance.

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