New JBA India Crop Model Helps Reinsurers Prepare For Uncertainty As El Niño Is Predicted For 2019

JBA Risk Management (JBA), global leader in risk management, has launched a new India Crop catastrophe model for the (re)insurance market. More commonly known for market leading flood maps and models, JBA has collaborated with Chaucer through its platform in Singapore to develop a new probabilistic crop model for the Indian agriculture insurance market. The model launch coincides with the start of the India Rabi (winter) crop growing season and amid increasing evidence that a period of El Niño weather patterns will likely prevail from late 2018 into 2019.

In developing the model, JBA research highlighted the potential susceptibility of particular crop types to positive El Niño phases. The results of this research suggest that crop yields in some Indian districts during El Niño years could result in a 28% fall from their annual average.

Dr Iain Willis, JBA Risk Management Singapore Managing Director, explained this point further: “There’s currently a 70% chance that the global climate will experience an El Niño warming phase from October this year into early 2019. We know that El Niño can have substantial effects on the rainfall patterns of the Indian summer monsoon. Crop simulations ran using historic climate data suggest that some major Indian rainfed crops, including Soybean and Groundnut, are particularly vulnerable to these changes during El Niño years and can be adversely affected.”

The new JBA model makes use of the latest developments in agricultural technology software to use computer simulations to reproduce the daily growth of major insured crops throughout the Indian Kharif (summer) and Rabi (winter) growing seasons. This simulation approach is revolutionary in avoiding the pitfalls of relying on historic crop yield data, with changes over the years in the Indian crop market making historic yields often unreliable for understanding contemporary crops.

JBA collaborated with Chaucer in building the India Crop Model. As Tom Graham, Head of Regional Treaty Development at Chaucer in Singapore, explains: “The Indian agricultural insurance market has grown rapidly since 2015 due to the state sponsorship of a revised insurance scheme. The Indian Government has publicly stated that it is looking to ensure cover for 50% of India’s 130 million farmers by 2020 through the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) Scheme. To facilitate and support this vital and ambitious goal, it is hugely important to have robust models in place to help assess the nature of the risk and exposure to the market. Collaborating with JBA ensured we combined Chaucer’s underwriting expertise with JBA’s leading modelling capability.”

The India Crop Model is intended for use by (re)insurers to help them price and assess their exposure within the PMFBY India Crop Insurance scheme.

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