SANASA Insurance Company Ltd has partnered with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to launch iFarm, a simple and secure online insurance platform to support the local farming community. The Sanasa iFarm application gives local farmers access to a host of insurance products offered by SANASA Insurance, in addition to a number of other value-added services. The application simplifies the process of purchasing agriculture-based insurance covers and streamlines the claims process, so that more local farmers can protect themselves against losses arising from weather and other disastrous occurrences.
GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) worked with software development company Surecore to develop iFarm – a cloud-based core insurance platform. The iFarm platform allows farmers to set up an account and submit all necessary details to initiate a policy application, even without a visit from an insurance agent. Once the relevant documents and information have been passed on to the nearest SANASA Insurance branch, an agent will visit the location for a physical inspection and complete the policy. Farmers can pay the premium via bank deposit, mobile money, or via a credit card.
SANASA Insurance offers three main insurance policies through the iFarm platform. The weather index-based policy which is an insurance approach to managing weather and climate risk because it uses a weather index, such as rainfall, to determine payouts and these can be made more quickly and with less argument than is typical for conventional crop insurance. This type of insurance is available in two sub categories of pure index and hybrid index, with the latter including the general weather index policy in addition to other selected risks. The indemnity policy which is a general crop insurance that encompasses 35 different agri crops, including vegetables, field crops, plantation crops, cash crops and spices. The livestock policy currently covers cattle and goats.
Sri Lanka’s agriculture-based economy contributes to about eight percent of the national GDP and provides employment for over 25 percent of the population. However, farmers nowadays face substantial amount of risk with climate change, new diseases and inconsistent agri product pricing, thus have hampered the sector from realizing its true potential. Every year, local farmers are faced with a new set of trials to navigate and overcome, and many are left destitute when disaster strikes.
Ravinda Herath, Senior Manager – International Relations, SANASA Insurance Company said, “We know that the weather index-based insurance policy introduced by SANASA Insurance has had a significant impact on the local farming community. However, we realized that there was much more we needed to do to help our farmers, especially by offering policies that cover more risk areas. With the world moving to a digital space we felt the need to use technology, thereby enabling more people with a simple easy to use app. With the introduction of Sanasa iFarm we could reach those in more rural areas, and also add more value to our services. This is why we partnered with GIZ to revamp our insurance offering for agri farming. All farmers need to do to access the app is to download iFarm by Sanasa General Insurance Co. from the Google Play Store. ”
In addition to managing their insurance policies, users can also benefit from a number of value added services available on the iFarm platform. The news portal will contain a host of up to date information that pertains to the agricultural industry. The market prices portal on the platform will list the prices of all agricultural products from different wholesale markets in the country. Farmers can also directly connect with buyers via the platform, especially if they have excess stock of specific crops. Furthermore, farmers can request a consultation on soil and fertilizer requirements prior to planting crops in their fields and plantations.
Sajith Chanuka, Senior Fin-Tech Advisor, SME Sector Development, GIZ speaking of the partnership said, “Creating an app and platform of this nature allows farmers to improve decision making in agriculture. Our objective is to improve farm management by informing farmers in real time of weather conditions, soil conditions and market situations; thereby enabling sustainable farming methods with a direct contribution to agricultural productivity. Our partnership with Sanasa will undoubtedly improve the livelihoods of a large number of small local farmers. We are delighted to be a part of the effort to use technology to make these products more accessible to farmers, especially those in rural areas. IFarm will ensure that these communities, who are the backbone of the economy, are better equipped to deal with the uncertainties brought on by climate change and other misfortunes.”
SANASA Insurance launched a weather index-based insurance product for the first time in Sri Lanka, in order to help local farmers deal with some of these uncertainties. This was in line with SANASA’s mission to provide products and services that help improve the livelihoods of members of cooperative societies. A weather index-based insurance uses a weather index, such as rainfall, to determine payouts calculated using a pre-assigned value. With the introduction of the Sanasa iFarm App farms can receive faster payouts, as the insurance company is not required to visit the farm to assess damages and judge claims. For example, if the rainfall during a season is below the agreed upon threshold, the insurance payout happens automatically. SANASA Insurance initially introduced this cover for paddy farming, and subsequently for tea cultivation as well. The insurance offering currently covers approximately 10,000 farmers in the country.