Agri Insurance

Use of remote satellites and drones for crop insurance scheme

When Beed district in Maharashtra was affected due to floods in 2016, instead of sending individual assessors to look into the crop damage, HDFC ERGO General Insurance chose to take the help of drones.

It is illegal to fly drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles, (UAV) in India by individuals unless prior permission and licence is taken as per rules of the Directorate Generate for Civil Aviation. However, insurance companies, which have the permission to do so, have been conducting pilots to look into the usability of drones in the sector to reduce loss ratios.

Anuj Tyagi, Executive Director, HDFC ERGO General Insurance, said, “We would like to continue to explore the usage of drone technology in our allocated districts under PMFBY during the current season specifically for the estimation of losses due to localised events or catastrophic events.”

The agriculture ministry has called for use of modern technology like remote satellites and drones for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) which is a crop insurance scheme subsidised by the government.

The government is also encouraging insurers to use smartphones and remote sensing to reduce crop cutting experiments and help cut delay in payments to farmers.

Tata AIG General Insurance is also looking to use drones in the current year for crop insurance schemes. Apart from them, the largest private sector insurer ICICI Lombard General Insurance is also using drones to capture crop yield data.

M Ravichandran, President, TATA AIG General Insurance, said that drones are perceived to be an effective tool in minimising the loss and helps taking appropriate actions where the area is cut off due to flood among others.