Handling agricultural insurance claims during Covid-19 lockdown

Traditionally, claim estimates in crop insurance involve travel, farm visits, joint inspections, and closer interaction with the farmer. But now, with strict health and safety measures in place, these activities are limited. So, what happens when a loss adjuster is unable to visit a farm to verify a claim? Fraud detection with GreenTriangle Earlier this year, a farmer made a claim on his crop insurance policy, claiming losses on wheat crop due to frost. However, because of the lockdown, quarantine and numerous claims to handle, the loss adjuster was unable to visit the farmer's fields before the harvest and therefore could not verify the claim on time. The loss adjuster used GreenTriangle’s platform and compared the claimed fields with neighboring fields and declared residual yield with modelled yield range provided by GreenTriangle. He was able to identify two things that didn't match the farmer's claim: there had been no occurrence of frost for any of the claimed fields and the vegetative development as per the mobile app’s charts was heterogeneous but only slightly below normal levels. Figure 1: Vegetative development of the insured fields slightly below normal vegetation health in April and May (red: low vegetation health, green: high vegetation health) This was easy to spot as each insured field gets its own timeline that shows:
  • historical and up to date information about the field condition and its vegetative health, including samples;
  • the range of potential yield levels;
  • the occurrence of each insured peril: drought & flooding; hail; heatwaves, early and late frost.
According to the weather and remote imagery records, a near to total loss claim was unjustified. The heterogeneity of the field was not due to any frost event. The insurer's response was instant: the GreenTriangle's PDF report of the policyholder’s farm was generated and attached to the claim file, while following the requirements attributed to travel restrictions and social distancing. This kind of situations could be spotted several times across GreenTriangle's insurance portfolios. Figure 2: Heterogeneous vegetative health across the insured field (red: low vegetation health, green: high vegetation health) Peril Identification Remote monitoring software has benefits beyond the detection of erroneous insurance claims. It can also help adjusters differentiate the impacts of adverse weather events and diseases on the crop’s yield. In July 2020, sugar beet fields in central Europe were suffering from both beet yellow virus (BYV) and drought. Loss adjusters were struggling to quantify the individual impact of the disease – which was uninsured, and drought – which was insured. Figure 3: Vegetative development of the sugar beet field showing a recovery in September after the significant rainfall events (red: low vegetation health, green: high vegetation health) If the differentiation between the insured and uninsured peril is not properly made, either the farmer or insurance provider would lose on the claim payout. Unable to visit the farm for several times to assess the dynamics of the crop development, the loss adjuster turned to remote sensing imagery. By examining vegetation health and soil moisture on a weekly basis before and after rainfall events, the impact of the drought was separated from the impact of the virus. Thus, the loss adjuster was able to calculate insured losses more accurately and authorize payout entitled to the policyholder. The future of the digitized agriculture insurance claim process The digitized agriculture insurance claims process offers great promise. Such a technology can facilitate accurate fraud detection, objective sampling, claims verification, provide remote yield estimates, reduce loss assessment costs, etc. Beyond these benefits, the digitalization of field data collection process has a great potential to pave the further way to individual field level risk analysis and insurance cover designs. Year 2020 will certainly be remembered as the year when COVID-19 changed the world, affecting the insurance business towards accelerated digital transformation. If you need more information or if you have questions, please contact info@green-triangle.com or visit the website www.green-triangle.com. The article sponsored by GreenTriangle (www.green-triangle.com)

India - Farmers facing repeated crop loss look forward to govt’s aid scheme

For years, farmers in southwest Delhi’s Rawta village have had to contend with their farmlands turning into waterbodies during monsoon due to the Najafgarh drain that passes through nearby Gurugram overflowing.


Europe - Fruit harvest slightly down

Global fruit production amounted to around 883.4 million tons in 2019, an increase of around 1.4% on the previous year. While Europe recorded declining yields of - 8.7%, Asia further expanded its supremacy as the world's largest fruit producer with a 2.6% growth. 


India - Rains likely to cause damage to basmati crop in Punjab

Rains lashing several parts of Punjab are likely to cause damage to crops especially basmati paddy at various places in the state, officials said on Sunday. Paddy harvesting is also likely to be delayed because of rains, they further said.


Spain - Malaga's tropical sector united to demand an emergency solution to the lack of water

Axarquia's countryside, the largest avocado and mango producing area in Europe, is on a war footing after years of asking institutions for hydraulic infrastructure solutions. The main players in the sector - farmers, irrigators, producers, and marketers - are not willing to keep on waiting idly by.


India - Early snow & rain damage apple crop, trees in Kashmir

Early snowfall and untimely rain across Jammu and Kashmir has damaged the apple crop and plants. Reports of damage to the fruit crop and trees have been received from the main apple-growing Sopore, Pulwama, Shopian and other areas of Kashmir.


Spain - The introduction of perennial plants among rainfed almond trees helps to mitigate climate change

Agriculture and the change in soil use produce 23% of the total emissions of greenhouse gases of anthropogenic origin. Moreover, the expansion and intensification of agriculture are considered determining factors in soil loss and degradation by accelerating erosion rates and favouring the loss of organic matter and nutrients.


Sri Lanka - Tea under threat from pests, fungal outbreaks, weeds due to agro-chemical ban

Sri Lanka’s tea crop could fall sharply from weeds, outbreaks by pests and fungus due to an agro-chemical ban adding to problems from fertilizer, an industry official said. Without herbicides soil erosion worsens and fertility is also lost, Roshan Rajadurai, spokesman for the Planters’ Association representing farm mangers said in a statement.


“Extreme” drought affecting agricultural lands in the Northern Great Plains

Decades of drought across the U.S. Southwest has led some scientists to classify the intense, prolonged dryness as a “megadrought.” But drought in North America took a different shape in 2021, affecting areas that do not face long-term or intense drought as often.