When the combines are finally parked and farmers who collect data have gathered all the information, they’ll know plenty about how their crops did and the decisions they’ll make for next year. But could that information be put to use in a new way — crop insurance?
That’s the question Farmers Edge and Global Ag Risk Solutions plan to answer in a new strategic alignment announced recently.
“We’re executing on the vision we’ve had all along — to help farmers in all ways work with better methodologies to get higher returns on their investment,” says Ron Osborne, Farmers Edge chief strategy officer. “Every farmer is an entrepreneur, and we want to help them identify risks so they can protect their businesses and have a healthier operation all around.”
With access to this real-time data and the grower’s permission, Global Ag Risk Solutions will know quickly what’s happening on a customer’s farm. This can help the company customize crop insurance underwriting in new ways.
Osborne explains that the two companies want to work together to get the best coverage levels for a farm — essentially a crop insurance policy that will cover crop inputs and is linked to yield potential in a way farmers can actually take to the bank. “We want to provide coverage and information that a farmer can use to get a loan from a lender or retailer. We want to help them have access to working capital,” he says.
Farmers Edge has built a business around real-time analysis of farm data captured from a number of sources —equipment, weather stations and satellite imagery. The company works on models that then help a farmer characterize what’s happening on the farm through the season. The aim of this partnership is to leverage that kind of information in new ways.
“This technology provides the confidence to underwrite and give the farmers a reward for their best practices,” Osborne says. “Before Farmers Edge, there was no way for a farmer to showcase those practices.”
Partnership in perspective
The new program is available to Farmers Edge customers now, and already farmers are calling the company and Global Ag Risk Solutions to get information. In a media statement announcing the partnership, Wade Barnes, founder and CEO of Farmers Edge added: “There has never been more risk in farming; the partnership between Farmers Edge and Global Ag Risk Solutions will protect and arm farmers against that risk. There is no other industry more ripe for disruption than the crop insurance and financial services industry.”
Earlier this year, Farmers Edge announced an agreement with the reinsurance firm PartnerRe as part of an effort to put data to work for improved risk management. This is another step in that process, and Osborne intimates that the company isn’t done.
Adds Grant Kosier, president and CEO of Global Ag Risk Solutions: “Global Ag is reshaping the crop insurance world by providing quotes tailored to a farm’s past financial records. We will have access to the data we need to speed up our claims and underwriting process the day after farmers complete harvest and shut their combines off.”