This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the insurability of risks in microinsurance markets. Our aim is to enhance the understanding of impediments to and facilitators of microinsurance from an economic perspective and outline potential solutions. The motivation for conducting this analysis arises from two important aspects. (1) Despite strong growth of microinsurance markets in recent years, more than 90 per cent of the poor population in developing countries have limited or no access to insurance. (2) Industry practitioners frequently highlight problems in the insurability of risks that hinder the development of microinsurance. We review 131 papers and find that the most severe problems stem from insufficient resources for risk evaluation, small size of insurance groups, information asymmetries and the size of the insurance premium. On the basis of the analysis, we discuss a number of potential solutions such as, for example, a cooperative microinsurance architecture.