Here’s an interesting video interview with Eric Seuret of a technology company called 3S Mobile. As you might guess they provide mobile software and mobile internet related services. They are providing the technology behind an interesting use of SMS (text messaging) to enable Kenyan small holder farmers to gain access to micro-finance weather insurance protection. You might think that mobile phone adoption would be too low in Kenya to make this a viable proposition, actually mobile devices are popular in Africa as they are delivered at an affordable price. This scheme allows farmers who buy a certain type of seed the ability to sign up to receive free drought weather cover simply by sending an SMS.
A great use of technology to get weather cover to a demographic who really need it (drought can be disastrous for these small holders). Behind the scenes, as ever, will be some form of index based weather cover or weather derivatives to proivide the risk protection to the insurers assuming the farmers risks. It’s good to see micro-finance initiatives in developing countries adopting technologies which make gaining access to those schemes easier for those who need the help.
Of course, SMS is widely used in many industries and markets these days but this is the first time we’ve heard of it used for weather risk management.