Zim capacitates insurance industry


In this story:

  • US$6m towards automatic weather observation systems
  • Weather base stations to help roll out of index insurance

By Conrad Mwanawashe

ZIMBABWE is investing in weather observation systems to strengthen early warning systems and assist the insurance sector to provide large scale systematic insurance in view of climate change.

So far, more than US$6 million has been invested towards automatic weather observation systems to complement the available radars while government is looking for more funds to complete the set of equipment that is required, according to Professor Prosper Matondi, Environment, Climate and Wildlife Permanent Secretary.

“We’ve radars in Kariba, Victoria Falls, Buffalo Range and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo as a basis for early warning and early action. In addition to that, we’ve installed automatic weather stations throughout the country and the numbers have grown to about 110.

“These allow us to read weather information and weather data in real time, in our offices, on our laptops and smartphones. Our development partners have come in to support that to ensure that farmers in specific regions are able to get weather data as and when they need that.

“We have also put thousands of rain gauges in anticipation that farmers will be able to use the automatic weather station data and the data that they get on the rain per day for their daily planning, cropping and other farming activities,” said Prof Matondi on the sidelines of a roundtable discussion on Enhancing Climate Resilience through Sustainable Insurance Projects in Zimbabwe held recently.

Weather data is a significant factor in insurance companies determining the right products for the market.

Dr Grace Muradzikwa the current Commissioner of the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) said the sector needs “these base stations countrywide to be able to roll out index insurance”.

“One of the challenges or what has stopped the roll out of Index insurance countrywide is that when you incept a policy you want to be able to calculate how much rainfall each specific area received. If you do not have weather stations, you do not have that data. Yet, Index insurance is very much dependent on data for you to be able to ascertain whether a payout is necessary or not,” said Dr Muradzikwa.

Weather Index Insurance pays out on the basis of defined bad weather events, such as, dry spells, droughts, excessive rainfall, only.

“We do need these base stations countrywide for us to be able to roll out index insurance. It’s important to have this infrastructure to capacitate the insurance industry to underwrite index insurance,” Dr Muradzikwa added.

For the aviation services, according to Prof Matondi, government is putting an additional six automatic weather observation systems that are then used to complement the available radars.

“These will also be able to give us, in real time, the information that we require for us to be able to secure our aviation and also read different weather parameters – it might be wind pressure, temperature, precipitation and predicting lightning – in order to prevent some of the loss and damage and disasters that come with climate change,” he added.


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