How Blockchain Technology Will Transform The Weather Insurance Industry.

October 31, 2018

Why we need decentralized weather insurance

It is understandable to ask why the weather insurance industry needs blockchain technology beyond just keeping up with the latest in technology advancements and trends.

The answer is that many traditional insurance products are still standardized, slow, and costly.

  • Insurance contracts use standard wording with several types of risks not even covered.
  • Customers can spend months in assessment periods with insurers or governments before receiving payouts, specifically at the time when they really need working capital to compensate profit-losses and manage future business operations.
  • Insurance can be cost prohibitive leaving many under-insured or uninsured.

According to Swiss Re Institute in the last ten years, only 30% of catastrophe losses were insured. That means 70% ($1.3 trillion) is not covered and those losses are borne by individuals, business, and governments.

Extreme weather has also been on the rise in recent years creating more urgency for new types of insurance products and services. According to NOAA, during the first 9 months of 2018, the U.S., alone, has experienced 11 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion. These weather events impact areas of business like — agricultural, energy, tourism, travel, and retail.

While some improvements have been made with parametric or index insurance, a product that pays a fixed amount when a triggering event such as a natural catastrophe, or rainfall, cold, heat, or drought occurs. This event-driven product does remove the qualitative judgments of calculating damages by insurers and government agents by using a third-party data source to verify the claim these programs can still be hampered by lack of capital, bureaucratic delays, and many operations are still too small to participate.

Therefore, insurance, especially weather is ripe for decentralization

  • Centralized systems have failed to provide for needs in the weather insurance markets especially in agriculture where the vast majority of entities are exposed to weather setbacks.
  • The immutable recoding by blockchain and smart contracts allows one to parametrize the weather outcome payments without ambiguity allowing any two parties to enter into a contract without the need for an insurance intermediary.
  • Weather data is objectively measurable and tracked by a vast number of participants making it easy for a wide array of participants to create and trade contracts.
  • The time horizon for weather insurance as it pertains to major industries such as agriculture, energy, or tourism is relatively short revolving around the nearest season of interest such as crop growing periods or winter heating season.

In short, decentralizing weather insurance can produce a customizable, fast, no-touch procedure that will save insurers millions every year and hopefully lead to closing the protection gap.

Continue reading