The Climate Corporation launches Total Weather Insurance 2013

The Climate Corporation launches Total Weather Insurance 2013

By: Agriculture.com Staff 10/15/2012 @ 11:35am

The Climate Corporation has announced the launch of Total Weather Insurance (TWI) 2013 for corn and soybeans, with more adaptive coverage for increasingly extreme weather.

The 2012 growing season is turning out to be one of the worst and most extreme on record in many parts of the U.S. Starting with the hottest March ever, farmers around the country planted corn weeks earlier than usual. Then continued hot and dry weather destroyed crops in many areas of the Corn Belt as they moved through some of their most vulnerable phases. Data from the National Climatic Data Center shows that the June-July period was both the hottest and driest since 1936 across the U.S. Corn Belt, and moderate to exceptional drought was reported in 63% of the contiguous U.S.

As a result of the extreme weather this growing season, 80% of all TWI Corn 2012 policies have already resulted in payouts to policyholders from The Climate Corporation to compensate them for weather-related yield shortfalls, and USDA weekly Crop Progress reports validate that growers needed those payouts. In Iowa, where 18% of the corn crop was rated ‘Good’ or better in the September 24th Crop Progress Report, 90% of all TWI corn policies written in the state have resulted in a payout to make up for financial loss due to bad weather. And in Illinois, where just 7% of the corn crop was rated ‘Good’ or better in the September 24th Crop Progress report, 98% of all TWI corn policies have resulted in a payout to the policyholder.

“Growers get an average of forty paychecks in their lifetime and each one needs to count,” says David Friedberg, founder and CEO of The Climate Corporation. “Growers with bad yields and good federal crop insurance coverage this season – but no Total Weather Insurance – are going to survive the year. But their low yields will have cost them an opportunity to capitalize on record commodity prices and really get ahead. Growers who bought TWI this year to complement their federal crop insurance locked in some of that profit potential that existed at the start of the season.”

John Greenwood was one of those farmers protected by TWI during the 2012 growing season. He grows corn, soybeans and wheat in Coffeen, Illinois, and says that he can’t imagine leaving a large portion of his profits exposed to loss by relying on federal crop insurance alone.

“The reason we got Total Weather Insurance was to protect ourselves. Our regular crop insurance can cover 75-85% of APH, but we were looking for more coverage,” says Greenwood. “I remember the 1988 drought, and I’d say this year’s a lot worse. From the day bad weather triggered our TWI coverage, we started accumulating payouts and our check is sent automatically. With federal crop insurance, the paperwork is hectic, everything is subject to audits, and of course there are adjusters to deal with. There’s none of that with TWI.”

Introducing TWI 2013 with More Adaptive and Precise Coverage

TWI is a full-season program that lets growers protect their profits by insuring against bad weather that can cause yield shortfalls. TWI provides precision coverage based on field location, soil type and crop, and pays out automatically when bad weather happens.

The Climate Corporation continually enhances its TWI program by working closely with an advisory panel of top university agronomists from around the country to understand the latest research on the interactions between weather and yield, and by engaging directly with growers and their agents. The program for the 2013 corn and soybeans growing season has been enhanced in two key areas:

More adaptive coverage: TWI 2013 features a more flexible coverage structure, further ensuring that corn and soybean crops in the field are protected from adverse weather events during the right times throughout the growing season.

  • Growth Stage TrackerSM: New for the 2013 growing season, Growth Stage Tracker calculates coverage dates for key weather perils by tracking the weather- driven progression of the crop in-season. With Growth Stage Tracker, TWI coverage is adaptive to a broader range of extreme weather scenarios.
  • Soil Moisture TrackerSM: Soil Moisture Tracker was introduced for the 2012 growing season to provide daily field-level assessments of yield-impacting soil moisture conditions for each 2.5 x 2.5 mile Precision Rainfall Grid. Enhancements for the 2013 season include setting an initial soil moisture value right at the beginning of the growing season, and use of an enhanced methodology – based on leading university research – for calculating daily changes to the soil moisture value.

More precise weather measurement with Precision Temperature GridsSM: Where TWI 2012 utilized a single temperature station per TWI policy, TWI 2013 tracks temperature values based on 2.5 x 2.5 mile Precision Temperature Grids. Each Precision Temperature Grid utilizes data from up to 3 nearby, on-the-ground weather stations -- adjusted for grid-specific geographic characteristics such as elevation or proximity to bodies of water -- to calculate daily temperature conditions. Precision Temperature Grids are designed to provide more precise temperature values for a grower’s location than is possible with point-based temperature reporting. 

"When modeling a complex biological system such as the rate of crop growth in the field, better data resolution means better results,” says Jeff Hamlin, Director of Agronomic Research at The Climate Corporation. “With TWI 2013, we are incorporating more localized temperature data, field-level soil characteristics, grower-reported seed variety information, and in-season weather conditions to further enhance our understanding of the conditions present in any given field. As a result, we can better track crop development, adjust coverage periods, and ultimately improve the protection we provide to growers."

2013 Coverage for Key Corn and Soybean Weather Perils 

Utilizing advanced agronomy, historical yield and loss data, and weather history and forecasts, TWI 2013 for corn and soybeans covers the major weather perils growers may face during the growing season. TWI Corn 2013 coverage includes: 

  • Early Drought protects against post-planting drought that can limit early crop growth and threaten crop viability.
  • Drought protects against depleted soil moisture that can cause wilting, pollination issues and decreased yields.
  • Daytime Heat Stress protects against hot days that can reduce crop growth and result in ineffective pollination.
  • Nighttime Heat Stress protects against warm nights that can result in diminished kernel growth due to increased plant respiration.
  • Excess Moisture protects against excessive local moisture that can lead to standing water which starves the crop of oxygen and promotes disease.
  • Low Heat Units/Freeze protects against a cool growing season or early freeze events that can prevent corn from reaching full maturity.

TWI Soybean 2013 coverage includes:

  • Early Drought protects against post-planting drought that can limit early crop growth
  • and threaten crop viability.
  • Drought protects against depleted soil moisture that can limit reproductive success and yields.
  • Heat Stress protects against hot days that can limit pod count, seed number and seed size.
  • Excess Moisture protects against excessive local moisture that can lead to standing water which starves the crop of oxygen and promotes disease.
  • Freeze protects against early fall freeze events that may damage or kill plants before full yield potential is realized.

To find a crop insurance agent in your area certified to sell Total Weather Insurance, or to hear directly from growers about their experience with TWI, go to www.climate.com. Full season weather coverage for 2013 corn and soybean crops is available to growers who sign up by March 15, 2013.