What is in this article?:
- Climate Corporation has been around since it was founded by former Google executives in 2006.
- Applies technology to help offer insurance products to a lot of weather-sensitive businesses.
- Total Weather Insurance (TWI) not a government program.
At heart, Climate Corp is a technology company, says Hamlin. “We have a lot of computer scientists, mathematicians and statisticians running all kinds of information and correlations through our system. Daily, we run 2.5 million locations of weather data, 150 billion soil observations and 10 trillion weather date simulation points. Lots and lots of data come through.
“It’s been interesting to take all that complicated data and present it in a format where a grower can come into his crop insurance agent’s office, never having heard of weather insurance before, and within 45 minutes to an hour the grower is able to see a product that makes sense; enough sense that 75 percent of the people we showed it to in 2011, bought it. Really that’s where we’re adding value to the market: taking complex problems and … getting it to a place where a grower is able to say ‘based on my experience, what you’ve shown me makes sense and it’s something I need.’”
2011, he says, was both good and bad.
“It was good in that growers got to see how the product worked because there was some extreme weather and they received checks from us. It was bad, obviously, because (the company) had to send out a lot of payments. But that’s what insurance companies do – we pay when things go badly.
“Many growers, when first presented with this (product), say ‘this sounds too good to be true. I don’t have to deal with a crop adjuster? I don’t have to document yields? You might pay me even if I have a good year?’ It’s totally different than what they’re used to with the federal crop insurance program.
“So, we had a lot of growers this year who looked at the coverage, bought it – some for all their acres and others who dipped their toe in the water – and then were hit was an extremely wet spring.”
That was especially true in Indiana, Ohio and parts of Illinois “where they had the rainiest spring in the last 100 years. At the end of May, after so much moisture, a check arrived in their mailbox. We paid them for a presumed yield loss at the end of the season. Then, it was hot in July and dry in August. So, they got checks in July and August. By the time it was September – the crop still in the field finishing – they’d already received two or three checks from our company.”