Parametric Spring Frost Insurance

Spring frost poses a significant risk to the fruit and wine industries, destroying harvests and balance sheets. Parametric insurance offers financial protection against the devastating impacts of frost.

Addressing the risk of spring frost

Many wine and fruit growing regions, globally, are more frequently experiencing spring frost. The vulnerability of fruit growing industries to spring frost stems from the delicate nature of fruit trees and grapevines during their critical flowering and budding stages. When temperatures drop below freezing during spring, the tender buds and blossoms are highly susceptible to damage. 

The spring of 2021 in France serves as a stark illustration of the profound risk posed by spring frost events to farms and vineyards each year.  Following a mild winter and an unusually warm March that prompted early bud break, the subsequent arrival of cold temperatures in April led many growers to lose 50-100 percent of the year's production within a few days.

While farmers have begun to implement on-farm risk management tools like outdoor heating systems to mitigate against damages caused by spring frost, insurance solutions stand out as efficient risk transfer tools for fruit and wine growers. At present, most agricultural insurance products rely on historical loss events to determine insurance rates. Descartes' parametric frost solution offers a new approach that takes historical loss events as well as a range of data to precisely estimate the unique risk of spring frost faced by clients.

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Extreme cold/frost impacting crop yield
Step 1


We assess and evaluate the client's risk of spring frost during critical points of the growing season, leveraging data from IoT-driven weather stations and long-term climate trends.

Step 2


Design a customized cover, fit to the client’s unique needs, in which payout structures are indexed according to minimum daily temperature.

Step 3


Upon policy inception, we monitor the insured's location for minimum temperatures during the risk period to determine whether a qualifying event has occurred.

Step 4


Insured client receives a payout within days of reporting a loss, covering damages and boosting liquidity ahead of next season.

Our case studies are all over the world

Utilizing Machine Learning and real-time monitoring from satellite imagery & IoT, our state-of-the-art technology helps businesses bounce back faster against climate, cyber and other emerging risks.

  • Global Agriculture Frost Descartes’ Parametric Insurance Offers Full Protection Against Frost See the case study

Our approach to understanding frost

Our parametric spring frost product is supported by an in-house model that integrates the client’s unique asset information with on-site sensors and publicly available temperature data to assess the precise risk of spring frost for each location. This innovative approach allows us to provide capacity in exposed areas and provide our clients with the most accurate assessment of risk, aligning seamlessly with their unique risk profile and financial parameters. 

In full collaboration with the broker and client, our team is able to design a customized cover that is structured to indemnify based on a cooperatively defined minimum daily temperature index. The structure is calibrated specifically for each vineyard or type of fruit, and spring frost is continually monitored by on-site and local sensors. During this process, we assess the effectiveness of our solution by applying the cover to historical loss events of the client. 

Coverage periods usually stretch from February to May and can be adjusted to reflect an early start of the blossoming season or subdivided according to each phenological stage vulnerability.

Extreme cold/frost impacting grape yield

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