The study investigates contextual similarities and differences and discusses assumptions. It concludes that empowering poor individuals is crucial for... It argues that the growth of civil society is essential for successful provision of insurance for the poor. Globalisation and structural changes in the market and society are also key factors. Friendly societies and microinsurance initiatives seek to extend welfare provision through affordable contributions. It juxtaposes 19th century capitalism with the openness of the market in low-income countries. The study notes similar challenges and regulatory concerns in friendly societies and microinsurance. This is a historical comparative study of microinsurance in developing countries and 19th century UK friendly societies. Both are favourable factors for insurance for the poor. It examines factors affecting delivery of insurance to the poor.Welfare provision for the poor is taken on by civil society when it is not guaranteed by the state.