Weather based crop insurance (Saskatchewan)
Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation provides weather derivative programs that cover pasture and corn crops. These programs are based on precipitation and temperature values during the growing season. Since 2005, Weather INnovations Consulting LP has installed and maintained 131 ADCON telemetry stations across Saskatchewan with gaps supplemented by Environment Canada stations. All incoming raw data undergoes a quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) process before being submitted to SCIC. This process has been approved by an accredited meteorologist.
For all SCIC’s weather-based programs, they are area based and the weather variables measured at the weather stations are the sole basis for claim payments. WIN’s regular maintenance and thorough QA/QC process is an integral part in the programs and allows impartiality of SCIC during the collection and handling of weather data.
Rainfall and temperature can vary greatly over relatively short distances, SCIC needed to get the most accurate assessment of rainfall and temperature as possible. A more efficient data collection and review was needed to help reduce the amount of paperwork required by producers and eliminate the need for on-farm inspections while providing coverage against extreme conditions.
In 2005, there were 30 Environment Canada stations, 50 ACE sensor stations and 50 ADCON telemetry stations. In the following 4 years, WIN expanded to 101 ADCON stations and the 30 Environment Canada stations remained. At the same time in 2005, WIN’s proprietary QA/QC process began. These stations were distributed to ensure that all agricultural land in the province is within 40 kilometers of an eligible station.
At each WIN station there are dual temperature/relative humidity sensors and two tipping bucket rain gauges, measuring 0.2 mm per tip. All data and communication is done through ADCON telemetry with analog to digital conversion, and 5 day data storage. There are two independent loggers installed at each site for redundancy. Data is then processed through a rigorous QA/QC process.
WIN ensures field services meet crop insurance needs and standards. Quality weather monitoring programs require regular site inspection by trained personnel. The weather stations are routinely inspected and maintained throughout the growing season with in-season station calibration and verifications as well as offseason re-calibrations and all verifications documents completed. WIN’s use of dual temperature sensors, precipitation gauges and dataloggers nearly eliminates missing values and therefore the need to estimate values to complete the dataset.
The QA/QC process allows WIN to compare the dual sensors at each site and flag anomalies and allows for further investigation. Designated WIN staff review the information daily and reports and maps are generated in SCIC requested format.
In 12 years, WIN has provided nearly 30 million “sensor hours” of service and have recently signed a new agreement for the next 3 years. In 2011, WIN developed a “Provincial Dashboard” that is available online for SCIC representatives. Through this portal there are daily maps generated for rainfall, temperature, CHU and GDD for the temperature base of 5°C and 10°C which is used to calculate growth stages for multiple different crops. Through the weather-based programs, SCIC can continue to develop innovative insurance products that offer minimal administration for their customers and WIN can continue developing rigorous weather monitoring and data quality assurance and quality control. SCIC and WIN have taken every step to ensure that the program and outputs are sound and fair.