Agricultural Insurance in India:A Perspective
A Reddy ()
The IUP Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2004, vol. I, issue 3, 36-45
The ongoing National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) along with experimental income insurance and weather insurance, is a good step forward to insure risk of millions of farmers whose livelihood depends on the pattern and distribution of monsoon rain in India. NAIS is based on area-yield approach and is suffering from low penetration and adverse selection with consequent high claim to premium ratio. With this backdrop, the paper reviews the innovative techniques in agricultural/rural insurance, which overcome some of the disadvantages of the above insurance and which advocate simple rainfall index insurance as a better alternative to the existing agricultural insurance scheme. The rainfall insurance is in practice in many countries for years and has been very simple to understand by a common farmer. It is put into practice with minimum existing resources with very little administrative and overhead costs. It also covers agricultural laborers and non-farm workers whose income is affected adversely by failure of rainfall and it is a very effective mechanism to increase insurance penetration ratio. The rainfall insurance is also more compatible with reinsurance practices, which make primary insurers cover their local/regional risks in catastrophic events by pooling their resources with reinsurance. The reinsurance agents can also effectively transfer their risks by issuing catastrophic bond/options like instruments in stock exchanges (NSE and BSE), as our stock markets are relatively well-developed and it may effectively fit into the portfolios of some of the fund managers and hedge funds.
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