In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 3% of smallholder farmers use agricultural insurance coverage to protect their families’ livelihoods.
Accessible and affordable crop insurance is crucial for smallholder farmers as a means to increase their resilience to the effects of climate change. Unfortunately, traditional insurance isn’t working for them. Available insurance covers are expensive, and there is little trust in traditional insurers due to cases of delayed or absent claims payouts, as well as a lack of transparency on the data used to determine claims.
Etherisc Impact solution offers a different kind of crop insurance that is fair, transparent and affordable for smallholder farmers.
Thanks to the financial and technical support from Chainlink, we have started development of an innovative parametric crop insurance built on top of our “Generic Insurance Framework” (GIF) on Ethereum and indexed to local weather parameters. Chainlink’s decentralized oracle network provides a reliable connection to different external weather data sources in a manner that’s provably secure end-to-end. It also broadcasts that data within our smart contracts for all parties to independently verify. During an extreme weather event, policies are triggered by the data and automatically result in fair, transparent and timely payouts that can’t be tampered with by the insurer.
A study conducted together with the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance found that the use of Etherisc’s smart contract technology will reduce the costs required to issue a policy by up to 41%. For farmers, this brings premiums down to an affordable cost level. The system also delivers transparency and dramatically reduces claim cycles which are often up to 3 months. This creates confidence that claims will be paid out automatically in accordance with the terms and conditions.
This innovative risk transfer solution based on Etherisc’s framework could serve as a blueprint for similar solutions around the world. Partners of Etherisc will have the tools to create and improve their own insurance products, enabling them to offer fully automated weather-index crop insurance with faster payouts at much lower premiums.
SETTING UP FOR SCALE
The partnership with Chainlink is a crucial step for Etherisc in its efforts to deliver sustainable solutions that help protect up to 250k farmers in Kenya, as part of our work with Acre Africa against the effects of climate change over the next three years. It can reach a total of 1.2 million farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with similar solutions.
The potential of blockchain technology in the area of inclusive finance has also been recognised by Ethereum Foundation’s Executive Director Aya Miyaguchi, who discussed Etherisc’s project during her keynote speech at EthOnline last October. She also mentioned that Ethereum’s priority is to discover opportunities in emerging markets, which is an important part of their scaling strategy to reach the next billion users. Etherisc was featured in her presentation as the player in the ecosystem who is addressing the financially excluded, and further support for the initiative in Kenya is currently under discussion. It is very encouraging for us to receive support from two of the most important players in the blockchain space, Chainlink and Ethereum Foundation.
Our partner in the field, ACRE Africa, is one of the largest insurance services providers for agricultural microinsurance, catering to communities of smallholder farmers in six countries in East Africa. As a service provider working with local insurers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, ACRE has insured over 1.7 million smallholder farmers in the past few years.
The initiative aims to provide 250,000 farmers in East Africa with insurance coverage, who will be able to pay the insurance premiums in small installments as low as $50 cents.
At scale, the solution can potentially mobilize up to US$ 6–10 billion in aggregated annual premiums.
Written by: Etherisc