India: AIR Worldwide Launches Crop Risk Modelling Software

Catastrophe risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide (AIR) today announced that it has released a Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) Model for India to help support probabilistic assessments of potential losses caused by yield shortfalls for 11 major crops across the two main India crop-growing seasons.

The MPCI Model for India is an event-based model, with an event defined as an individual crop year made up of a kharif season (the “summer” period from late spring into autumn) and the following rabi season (the “winter” period from autumn into the following spring).

“One of the many challenges in developing and testing an MPCI model for India crops is the collation and evaluation—quality assuring—of the available historical data on planted areas and yields of insured crops, which comes from various, sometimes contradictory sources,” said Dr. Jeff Amthor, assistant vice president, AIR Worldwide.

“Our team at AIR invested significant effort in gathering data and, just as important, in screening it for quality and consistency. As a result, we produced what may be the highest-quality single data set of India’s state and district crop production statistics currently available. We also carried out a significant effort to understand the causes and consequences of the sometimes significant differences among weather data sources.”

The model features a stochastic catalog of 10,000 simulated crop years, each containing a kharif season and the following rabi season, which describes the wide range of possible crop loss scenarios, both common and rare, in the two seasons. It also features a historical catalogue of losses based on a recast of the years 1979 through 2017. Both the stochastic and historic recast yield and loss catalogues reflect current crop “technology” levels (for example, current crop genetics, farmer skill, availability of chemical inputs), insurable exposure by district, and PMFBY (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana) policy conditions as revised in late 2018.

Damage estimation accounts for the vulnerability of different crops to variations and extremes in environmental conditions that occur at specific periods during both the kharif and rabi growing seasons. A crop’s vulnerability to stressful environmental factors (such as local or regional heat waves, droughts, or floods) can differ with each crop’s developmental stage, and that is accounted for in the AIR MPCI Model for India. The model also accounts for the fact that irrigation lessens or eliminates negative effects of precipitation shortfall on crop yields.

“Despite the long and extensive history of agriculture in India, it is only recently that multiple-peril crop insurance has been widely available to farmers,” said Dr. Praveen Sandri, executive vice president and managing director, AIR Worldwide India. “Additionally, the model can provide guidance toward putting together a balanced book of business that considers geographic correlations in a complex agricultural market.”

The AIR MPCI Model for India is currently available in the Touchstone ReTM catastrophe risk management system.

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