Boon for farmers as crop insurance to go hitech with drones, apps

Drones for crop loss mapping

[Editor’s Note: Ashish Agarwal, Agricultural Business at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, shared that they’re currently discussing using drones to estimate seasonal impact on crops for claim settlement.]

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Farmers may soon expect some help from the skies for speedy settlement of claims in crop insurance, thanks to drones.

Insurers are working on deployment of drones besides a real time mobile application to address issues in claim settlement.

As part of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), deployment of drones has been permitted to estimate crop losses in localised calamities and also map productivity.

Talks with tech providers

“We are in talks with technology providers and other stakeholders for using drones to estimate seasonal impact on crops and localised calamities which is vital for claim settlement,’’ Ashish Agarwal, Head-Agricultural Business, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, told BusinessLine.

Bajaj Allianz is implementing new crop insurance scheme in four states of Bihar, Haryana, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

According to sources, other major general insurers are also conducting research on use of drones though some are yet to spell out progress officially.

Data synchronisation

“We are working on using drones in yield assessment and to exactly find out crop signatures by synchronising data collected by drones with satellite images”, said a top executive of a private general insurance company which is a major player in implementation of PMFBY.

According to industry estimates, the prices of a drone with a high end camera range from approximately ₹7,000 to ₹25,000. However, its depends on the nature of use, area to be covered and accompanying technology solutions required.

Insurers generally lease drones to survey a cluster and it may cost around ₹1 lakh for a cluster of areas/district.

According to a senior govt official, a real time mobile application has also been readied to be piloted by state government officials and insurers.

“One of the challenges in agri insurance is the time taken to settle claims as the traditional crop cutting experiment is a long process,’’ Agarwal said.

To assess productivity

This experiment is done in select areas by the department of agriculture and insurance company officials to arrive at crop productivity. This would be used as a benchmark to arrive at any decision on crop failure to enable payment claims.

The new app will allow the officials to upload data directly to a central server which makes the process speedier, he added.

Training sessions

The government has made it mandatory for all state government officials to use the app and is currently conducting training sessions for officials of different states.

Launched in Jan 2016, PMFBY is now on in all states except in Punjab and four north-eastern states for Kharif and Rabi seasons. At present, it is being executed by 11 public and private sector insurers.

The total premium to be generated is estimated at ₹18,000 crore for the year.


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