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What Do We Know About Climate Insurance?

by David

Insurance programs can be an important policy instrument to address food security issues. As such, they have been on the POLISES research agenda from the get-go.

In our review article that was recently published in Global Environmental Change, we accumulated evidence about potentially harmful outcomes of the introduction of agricultural insurance products. We focused on insurance against climate and weather risks, which is increasingly being offered to farmers in the global south. While the benefits of such innovation are usually evident, our findings warrant a closer look at hidden long-term consequences which might be generated in the process. These include changing land use patterns, a loss of biodiversity, or an increased dependence on fluctuating world market prices which might end up jeopardizing local food security.

Thanks in part to a UFZ press release, our paper caught the attention of various news outlets. In Germany, the Frankfurter Rundschau daily ran a story, and the Rethink website from Sweden featured a longer article about livestock insurance and the challenges surrounding it. Yahoo India also reported.

All this shows that further debate on these novel insurance products is urgently needed. We are currently preparing a briefing paper which will present our conclusions and recommendations in a condensed form. Moreover, Birgit and our cooperation partner and co-author from the University of Oregon, geographer Leigh Johnson, have been and will be discussing our ideas at various events with academics, development practitioners, insurance company representatives, and policymakers. Stay tuned!

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