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Swiss Re Ltd. on Wednesday said it had entered into a reinsurance protection program with the Sunlight Agriculture Mutual Insurance Co. of China and Heilongjiang Province, which the reinsurer said is the first time the Chinese government has employed a commercial insurance program to protect farmers against financial risk from natural catastrophes.
The program is the first tailored solution combining a weather index product with a satellite-based flood parametric product, Swiss Re said in a statement. As the technical advisor and sole reinsurer, Swiss Re said it designed the scheme with advanced modeling technology.
The program covers 28 poverty-stricken counties in Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China and provides financial compensation for harm to lives and property of farming families and covers loss of income after floods, excessive rain, drought and low temperatures. The total coverage for the 28 pilot counties is up to $348 million, according to the statement.
The program determines insurance payouts based on triggers from satellite and meteorological data and allows faster payouts than traditional coverage, strengthening the government’s emergency management capability, Swiss Re said. Triggers include wind speed, location of a hurricane, and magnitude and location of an earthquake, asl well as insured losses.
Heilongjiang is highly exposed to natural disasters, Swiss Re said. In 2013, the province saw its worst flooding in 30 years, which killed at least 11 people and destroyed more than 2.5 million acres of farmland and affected two million people. In 2006, more than 20,000 firefighters battled massive forest fires in the province that engulfed more than 124,000 acres of forest, according to the statement.
“It is one of the top priorities of the government bodies in China to better manage natural catastrophe risks, and it has been the desire of the insurance companies in the market to play a bigger role in this sector,” John Chen, Swiss Re’s president for China, said in a statement.
Albertus Wiroyo, president of Indonesia's PT Mandiri AXA General Insurance, said that the AXA Group will expand its farm insurance program in Indonesia following the success of its pilot project in East Java's Malang city, reports The Jakarta Post.