Climate Change and the Shifting Agribusiness Landscape

Climate Change and the Shifting Agribusiness Landscape

Rich Pelkofsky  |  Product Manager Farm & Agriculture


From record heat waves to the coldest of winters, hurricanes, droughts and flooding, it’s no secret that our climate and weather are changing…and changing the agribusiness insurance landscape with it.

In 2018, the California Camp Fire wildfire resulted in more than $16 billion in losses. Flooding in the Midwest resulted in crop contamination from nearby livestock fields. Meanwhile, the crippling cold from two polar vortexes in the last five years caused frozen pipes and burst boilers, leading to property and equipment damage claims.

These new and challenging risks mean farmers and agribusiness insurers must rethink their product offerings and support, focusing on sensor technology to help them predict losses and respond quickly to claims.

Sensors are proving to be critical in predicting loss. Farmers in the past could use a handheld soil moisture probe sensor that can measure the soil moisture and nutrient consistency. Now, large crop farms can use wireless sensor probes to measure their soil moisture, helping them determine where irrigation is needed in real time. Unmanned aircraft, like drones, provide additional capabilities such as transmitting data directly to the farmer’s laptop. Temperature sensors on boilers, pipes and irrigation systems can alert operators via text if the equipment is too hot or too cold, preventing equipment failure and resulting property loss. Temperature sensors can also monitor livestock heating and cooling systems, helping farmers prevent not only equipment failure but animal loss.

For the agribusiness insurer, changing farming methods mean changing insurance offerings. AAIS is currently developing agribusiness property coverage to address commercialization in agriculture, including forms that will deal with the unique challenges that climate change has brought. Our Farm & Ag team is exploring forms, ratings and coverage for modern agribusiness, including vertical farms, agritainment, and microbreweries. In addition, we’re studying how our openIDL blockchain platform can track product recalls and pinpoint the area, farm, and even crop field responsible for tainted product. 

Weather changes and the resulting impact on the farm and agriculture business mean that farmers must quickly respond to unknown challenges. With new technology and AAIS’s evolving advisory services, they’re up to the challenge.