Handling agricultural insurance claims during Covid-19 lockdown

30.11.2020
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)
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