The tools on this page are the out of date versions, used in the past and are only for illustration of past processes. The new suite of tools will soon be released publicly!

How do we work with farmers to fix index insurance?

Too often index insurance fails to provide payouts when farmers really need it. To fix that we work with the farmers themselves. We have found that farmers themselves can design indexes at least as good, or better than any index or area yield insurance product ever provided by international experts for them. These indexes are improved even more when optimized by local, government, and international experts.

For basis risk, transparency, and agency reasons, it is clear that experts and insurance companies should only be providing the indexes if they can demonstrate they are outperforming what the end beneficiaries could do themselves.

One example is in Zambia (https://fist.iri.columbia.edu/publications/docs/zambia_fisp_yieldaudit_2023/). The government of Zambia with technical support from IRI and WFP has had focus group meetings in more than every seventh village in the country this year, asking farmers what they need in insurance. Check out the impressive database tree of villages visited at the link below (or start the animation). Keep in mind that although this example from Zambia is particularly large scale, these focus groups are now very practical exercises, and have been regularly performed in many countries, at low costs, with similar outcomes.