Regional insurtech Igloo expands its blockchain-based parametric index insurance to coffee farmers in Southeast Asia, showing commitment to covering more underinsured communities and industries after successful product implementation with rice farmers.
Southeast Asia – a part of what is called the coffee belt – is one of the biggest coffee producers in the world. While Vietnam and Indonesia are responsible for the majority of global coffee output, the Philippines is also an important global producer with industry revenue expected to reach US$6.7 billion in 2023, according to statistics portal Statista. The local market is also expected to grow annually by 5.69% until 2025.
Coffee production is not only a long-term and labor-intensive investment, but it is also one that is constantly under threat of climate hazards which provide difficult growing conditions due to extreme climate–affecting farmers and disrupting supply chains.
“Weather Index Insurance is a product that we introduced in order to protect farmers and communities across Southeast Asia from unforeseen climate hazards. While initially introduced for rice farmers, we’ve seen from its success the product’s scalability to cover other sectors like coffee farms, which is one of the robustly growing segments in the region,” said Mario Berta, Igloo’s Country Manager for the Philippines.
Protecting the coffee industry and its farmers
There are currently several insurance products on the market for coffee farmers. However, they share a common problem of incompatibility with the real, frequent risks faced by coffee farming families. The damage assessment process is also complex and time-consuming, which creates the risk of additional financial hardship for farmers.
The Weather Index Insurance eliminates the need to individually verify claims thereby reducing transaction costs and enabling faster payouts to farmers. This is done by collecting and monitoring rainfall data to calculate claims using pre-assigned values for losses due to natural causes. The business rules governing claims payout being hosted on a public blockchain help leverage the attributes of transparency, consistency, and unbiasedness, thereby making the setup credible.
While Weather Index Insurance is currently available in Vietnam for rice and coffee farmers, Igloo expects to roll out Weather Index Insurance to more countries in Southeast Asia including the Philippines soon.
“The Philippines being an agricultural powerhouse and one that is at a higher risk of suffering from the impacts of climate change, is a country we believe will benefit from having Weather Index Insurance. We are currently working with our partners to make this product available in the country and other markets in the near future. In addition, we are also exploring expanding the product’s coverage to include other indices such as earthquakes,” Mario added.