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The expansion of parametric insurance: beyond weather risk and agriculture

The expansion of parametric insurance: beyond weather risk and agriculture | EasySend blog
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5 minutes

Parametric insurance, once a specialized product focused on weather-related risks in the agricultural sector, is now making significant strides across various lines of business. This innovative insurance model, which provides payouts based on predetermined indices or benchmarks (like wind speed or the magnitude of an earthquake) rather than calculating the actual losses incurred, marks a significant shift in risk management. It enables quicker and more transparent payouts, making it easier to insure against risks that were once considered difficult or impossible to quantify. This article explores how parametric insurance is evolving and finding new applications beyond its original focus.

Understanding parametric insurance

At its core, parametric insurance operates differently from traditional indemnity-based insurance policies. Rather than compensating for the actual damages sustained, it offers a payout once specific criteria exceed a set threshold. This approach brings several benefits:

  • Speed of Settlement: The automatic trigger of payments, when the predefined parameter is met, ensures prompt claim resolution.
  • Simplicity and Clarity: The clear, objective criteria for payouts minimize disputes over claims.
  • Coverage Flexibility: Parametric insurance can fill in coverage gaps left by traditional policies, offering protection for hard-to-measure risks.

Despite its advantages, the scope of parametric insurance was once limited. Yet, advancements in technology and data analysis have broadened its applicability.

New applications for parametric insurance

Parametric insurance is now breaking ground in several new areas beyond its initial weather-related confines:

  • Cybersecurity: Facing rapidly evolving cyber threats, traditional insurance models can fall short. Parametric solutions provide payouts based on the scale of a cyber incident, like the length of a DDoS attack, sidestepping the need for precise financial loss quantification.
  • Supply Chain and Business Interruption: Global supply chains face increasing disruption risks from various factors, including geopolitical tensions and natural disasters. Parametric policies can offer compensation for supply chain delays or disruptions, based on specific event durations.
  • Healthcare: In areas with limited healthcare access, parametric insurance can offer payouts triggered by the outbreak of certain diseases, according to health authority data, providing a financial safety net for quicker treatment and support.
  • Energy Production: Variability in weather can significantly affect renewable energy projects. Parametric insurance can mitigate this, offering financial stability to operators through payouts tied to specific weather conditions.
  • Entertainment and Events: The entertainment sector, especially live events, is vulnerable to numerous risks. Parametric insurance can quickly compensate organizers if preset conditions, such as severe weather warnings, occur.

Challenges and considerations

While parametric insurance offers many benefits, it also faces challenges, such as accurately setting parameters and thresholds, which require deep data analysis. Additionally, there's the risk of "basis risk," where the parameter might not align perfectly with the actual loss. Educating stakeholders about parametric insurance's workings and advantages is crucial for its broader acceptance.

Another significant challenge facing parametric insurance is the potential for moral hazard. Unlike traditional insurance, where claims are scrutinized and adjusted based on actual losses, parametric insurance pays out based on the occurrence of a predefined event, regardless of the actual damage incurred. This can sometimes incentivize policyholders to take fewer precautions against potential risks, knowing they will receive a payout if the conditions of the policy are met.

Furthermore, the reliance on data models and external indices to trigger payouts requires constant updates and validation to ensure accuracy and relevance to current conditions. The complexity and cost of these data models can be prohibitive for some insurers, limiting the availability of parametric solutions in certain markets or sectors.

Additionally, as climate change continues to affect weather patterns and other parameters that these insurance products depend on, there is an increasing challenge in predicting and pricing these risks accurately. As a result, the coverage offered by parametric insurance may not be sufficient to cover actual losses in extreme events.

Another consideration is the potential lack of customization in parametric insurance compared to traditional insurance. Since payouts are based on predefined parameters and thresholds, there may be limited flexibility to tailor policies to specific needs or risks. This makes it crucial for policyholders to thoroughly understand the terms and conditions of their parametric insurance policy, as they may not have the same level of coverage or protection as with traditional insurance.

Despite these challenges, parametric insurance continues to hold promise in providing efficient and timely coverage for certain risks. With advancements in technology and data analytics, there is potential for more accurate risk modeling and expanded availability of parametric solutions.

The bottom line

Parametric insurance is moving beyond its agricultural and weather-related origins to transform risk management across various sectors. By offering quicker payouts and coverage for difficult-to-quantify risks, it presents a valuable complement to traditional insurance. With ongoing advancements in technology and data analytics, parametric insurance will likely see further innovation and adoption, reshaping the insurance landscape with new protections in our increasingly uncertain world.

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About EasySend

Transform the entire policy lifecycle, from quote to renewal, with EasySend. Trusted by Fortune 500 insurance companies, our no-code platform revolutionizes data collection processes. Effortlessly capture customer information, generate quotes, facilitate policy applications, streamline claims management, and simplify policy renewals to deliver a seamless, user-friendly experience.

Vera Smirnoff
Vera Smirnoff

Vera Smirnoff is the demand generation manager at EasySend. She covers digital transformation in insurance and banking and the latest trends in InsurTech and digital customer experience.