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Kosovo - Developing weather insurance applying weather data - UBIMET

With the increasing intensity and frequency of severe weather events, volatile weather affects farmers and their crop more than ever before. According to Munich Re, 160 billion US $ in losses were caused by natural catastrophes in 2018, only half of them insured. The sustained drought which caused substantial agricultural losses and many wildfires was Europe’s most expensive natural disaster of the year. Direct losses came to US$ 3.9 billion (€3.2 billion), with only a small proportion of these losses insured. Low water levels on many rivers lasting well into the autumn impacted river traffic and thus also freight transport and the economy.

The challenges for farmers consist in evaluating risk to avoid productivity losses and possibly take preventative measures to keep losses to a minimum. UBIMET helps evaluate risk based on long-term historical weather data. A perfect example to illustrate how historical weather data can assist is a project implemented for the World Bank. The World Bank selected UBIMET to conduct a hail reanalysis in Kosovo to enable developing agroinsurance which will help farmers receive loans.

The leading international weather service analysed historical weather data from 2007 to 2016 to ascertain when, where and in what size and intensity hail events had occurred. The findings were provided to the World Bank International Finance Corporation (IFC) at the end of 2018. Supported by Austria and Hungary, IFC has been driving a project to develop the agroinsurance business in Kosovo. Agriculture accounts for 13% of the Balkan republic’s GDP. Almost one third of the population of Kosovo, which gained independence from Serbia in 2008, works in the tertiary sector.

The biggest problem for agriculture consists in getting access to financial funds. As there are hardly any insurance products for agricultural risk, banks do not give out any loans. With the UBIMET weather data weather-related risk in Kosovo can be insured and corresponding agroinsurance products developed making the lives of farmers in Kosovo easier.

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