Climate Corporation introduces next generation Total Weather Insurance™ 2012

by Artemis on November 1, 2011

The Climate Corporation has announced the launch of their Total Weather Insurance™ product for 2012. The revamped crop weather insurance product features next-generation weather monitoring, with over 800,000 rainfall measurement grid areas across the U.S., industry leading soil moisture tracking and location specific yield assessment.

The Climate Corporation, previously known as WeatherBill until October when they rebranded, have today announced their upgraded flagship crop weather insurance products, Total Weather Insurance (TWI) Corn 2012™ and TWI Soybean 2012™ which they say provide unprecedented protection for growers against extreme weather.

“TWI 2012 for corn and soybeans is an enormous leap forward in innovation, taking the precision of the weather insurance we offer from ‘seasonal and regional’ to ‘daily and local,” says David Friedberg, founder and CEO of The Climate Corporation. “The advances we have made with our 2012 program now allow us to track on a daily basis the highly local conditions that are impacting yields at the farm level and pay growers accordingly.”

The Total Weather Insurance products allow farmers to lock in profits from their crops by protecting against extreme weather events that cause production shortfalls before Federal crop insurance coverage kicks in. It’s powered by what Climate Corporation term their Farm-Level Optimizer™, which dynamically determines the weather conditions based on crop, location and soil type, and then automatically optimizes full-season weather protection for that grower’s farm.

Enhancements to the products for 2012 include a number of technological advancements which show the Climate Corporation putting their technology advantage and funding to good use.

More localized, farm-specific data:

  • 25x more granular rainfall grids: TWI 2012 tracks precipitation nationwide using Precision Rainfall Grids™ powered by radar-based National Weather Service data. These interactive 2.5 x 2.5 mile grids allow a grower to select a precise location for TWI coverage, providing far more exact rainfall measurement for the grower’s location than is available with traditional land-based weather stations.
  • Soil type for policy customization: TWI 2012 policies incorporate grower-specified, farm-level soil type information. Knowledge of the water-holding capacity of the soil at the farm level allows TWI coverage to more accurately identify and pay for periods of drought or flood stress that lead to yield loss.
  • Trend-adjusted yield coverage: To support the RMA’s Trend-Adjusted APH Yield Option, TWI 2012 now automatically scales coverage for those producers who consistently outpace county production averages, custom-tailoring protection to better map to grower production levels.

More accurate assessment of field conditions:

  • Soil Moisture Tracker™: New for TWI 2012, Soil Moisture Tracker provides daily assessment of excess rain and drought conditions throughout the growing season. For each Precision Rainfall Grid, Soil Moisture Tracker estimates the amount of water entering the soil each day through rainfall and the amount of water leaving the soil each day through plant water use and evaporation. Soil Moisture Tracker utilizes an ultra-high resolution agronomic database that describes soil type and soil depth for every 30 x 30 foot land grid across the continental United States.
  • Heat stress: TWI 2012 takes a significantly more sophisticated approach to monitoring heat stress risk for corn crops, tracking nighttime heat stress in addition to daytime heat stress. When temperatures remain high during the night hours, increased plant respiration diminishes kernel growth as photosynthetic sugars are allocated to plant maintenance instead of kernel formation. The incorporation of coverage for nighttime heat stress is in direct response to ongoing university research that has increasingly identified nighttime heat stress as a major driver of corn yield shortfalls.
  • Planting delay window: TWI 2012 now allows growers to specify the number of days needed for field work and planting for a particular crop in a particular location. TWI 2012 then pays growers for excessive spring rains that do not allow these days to be realized during the ideal planting period, further refining coverage to ensure growers are protected from economic loss.

Climate Corporation say that their platform utilises weather measurements from 2.5m locations and forecasts from major climate models on a daily basis, and processes all of that data along with 150 billion soil observations to generate an astounding 10 trillion weather simulation points which are used in their insurance pricing and risk analysis systems.

That’s extremely impressive numbers and Climate Corporation are building the most comprehensive crop weather risk model we’ve heard of. It would be interesting to see this put to use in other regions of the world as data becomes available as it could make a tremendous difference to microinsurance program pricing difficulties.

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