Satellite images to be used to insure herders

Satellite images to be used to insure herders

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Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and African insurance provider UAP Insurance announced that herders in arid areas of northern Kenya would be able to purchase insurance policies for their livestock, based on a programme in Africa that uses satellite images of grass and other vegetation that indicate whether drought will put their camels, cows, goats, and sheep at risk of starvation.

The project is funded by UK’s Department for International Development (UKaid), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSD Kenya).

Andrew Mude, project leader at ILRI, said, “The reason this system can work is that getting compensation does not require verifying that an animal is actually dead. Payments kick in when the satellite images, which are available practically in real time, show us that forage has become so scarce that animals are likely to perish.”

James Wambugu, Managing Director of UAP Insurance, said, “We believe this programme has potential because it has the elements insurers need to operate, which is a well-known risk (drought) and an external indicator that is verifiable and can’t be manipulated, which in this case is satellite images of the vegetation.”

James Mwangi, Equity Bank Managing Director, said, “Insurance policies backed by UAP will provide pastoral families in Kenya’s remote Marsabit District, a simple way to reduce their drought risk