This paper aims to contribute to the debate on the feasibility of the provision of micro flood insurance as an effective tool for spreading disaster risks in developing countries and examines the role of the institutional-organisational framework in assisting the design and implementation of such a micro flood insurance market. In Bangladesh, a private insurance market for property damage and livelihood risk due to natural disasters does not exist. Private insurance companies are reluctant to embark on an evidently unprofitable venture. Testing two different institutional-organisational models, this research reveals that the administration costs of micro-insurance play an important part in determining the long-term viability of micro flood insurance schemes. A government-facilitated process to overcome the differences observed in this study between the nonprofit micro-credit providers and profit-oriented private insurance companies is needed, building on the particular competence each party brings to the development of a viable micro flood insurance market through a public-private partnership. © 2011 The Author(s). Disasters © Overseas Development Institute, 2011.