6 May 2013
Radar technology the key to credible Crop Mitigation Insurance in Western Australia
Liberal MLC Nigel Hallett and former Independent National MLC Phil Gardiner are calling on the State Government to invest in Doppler radar technology to ensure the success of the introduction of Crop Mitigation Insurance (CMI) in Western Australia.
Mr Hallett and Mr Gardiner recently hosted senior representatives from Global reinsurer Swiss Re Bernard Belk and founder and CEO of The Climate Corporation (TCC) David Friedberg following desperate pleas from struggling WA grain growers to consider long term measures to reduce the risks in farming.
Mr Hallett said TCC provides a flexible coverage structure known as Total Weather Insurance (TWI) to ensure that crops such as wheat, canola, barley and oats are protected from bad weather throughout the growing season.
“TWI protects farmers against weather events that cause production shortfalls and automatically sends payment when specified weather conditions occur.
“Doppler radar technology is able to supply a higher quality of data than standard radars and weather stations and has the ability to provide real-time operational applications which are known to be highly accurate and used by various industries including meteorologists to study weather patterns and climate changes.
“In addition to rainfall information, Doppler radars provide data like wind velocity and strength which are also important to growers. The data produced by Doppler radars have the capability to forecast possible heavy rains, thunderstorms and other types of extreme weather patterns.
Hosted by Mr Hallett and Mr Gardiner, a range of stakeholders including industry groups, members of the WA banking sector, State and Federal politicians and WA grain growers were briefed on the role insurance products can play to protect the agricultural industry from increasingly extreme weather with fully automated weather insurance products.
“It’s important to emphasise that the success of delivering a product specifically tailored to West Australian conditions is reliant on the availability of Government owned raw data such as digital field and soil maps. This data, which is readily available by the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Landgate is vital to the success of establishing a credible product in Western Australia.
“We are also calling on the Federal Government to fund a pilot program to trail a Crop Mitigation Insurance rebate system in Western Australia. A rebate, paid directly to growers, would help ease the debt crisis among many farmers in the eastern Wheatbelt.
“TCC have indicated they will return to Western Australia in coming weeks with the view of launching a private insurance product into the Western Australia market later this year to ensure growers are protected for the 2014 growing season.
“I’m pleased that Competition in the Crop Mitigation Insurance market is growing with Canadian insurer Latevo International recently launching a national program offering growers crop insurance programs, Mr Hallett said.
“I plan to continue to meet with WA Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston to help map out the best way forward to provide assistance and long term sustainability to the WA agriculture sector, Mr Hallett said.