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Heat Stress Protect is a global farming insurance innovation which has been launched this year in France. In this launch webinar, ITK presents this new insurance warranty tailored with Skyline Partners and SCOR to mitigate  economic losses due to heat stress in dairy farms.  The creators of this offer explain how climate change affects agroclimatic risk and heat stress in dairy cattle. With practical examples, they show how Heat Stress Protect can help mitigate the  detrimental impact of heat waves and increase farm resilience. The functioning of the warranty and its advantages for insurance companies, suppliers and dairy cooperatives are detailed.

Heat Stress prorect is alread embedded into the Farmlife application for cattle monitoring, and will be available internationally from 2022 either as a standalone product or as a complement to other insurance packages and digital services.

Does climate change impact livestock ? are there ways to quantify its effects ?

Serge Zaka, agrometeorologist at ITK  : « Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heat waves, as seen this June 2021 with the canadian record for high temperature being smashed in Lytton (49.8°C). The effects are evident on crop yield and animal production.  In this context, agrometereological indicators such as the THI index (the Temperature Humidity Index), developed to quantify heat stress in cows, can help farmers not only to monitor risks and but also to predict them. »

Bennet Holmes, business development director at ITK : « ITK has a longstanding experience in the use and calculation of agrometereological indicators that can add new value to weather data and forecasts. Its skills in artificial intelligence, connected objects and agronomical modelling have supported decision making in agriculture since its start in 2007. »

How does heat stress impact dairy production ?

Bennet Holmes: « Dairy cows, just as humans, are sensitive to extreme heat and can be heavily impacted when heat stressed. The effects are very evident on milk production, which decreases in both quantity and quality. Heat stress also affects cow health and reproductive performance. From an economical point of view, heat stress costs in the US have been estimated as between 100 and 167 dollars/cow/year.

Heat Stress Protect is an index based insurance product developed by ITK and Skyline partners to mitigate increasing economic losses due to heat stress. It is supported by Score, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies. It has just been lauched in France as part of the Farmlife service, a web application for smart dairy farming. Its international launch will be in 2022. »

What is the scientific basis of the insurance ?

Isabelle Leonard, applied matemathician and researcher at ITK: « ITK is using a sound scientific model relying THI to milk loss, which is also used by the USDA. ITK validated this model using US and European data. In the US the data were collected in 4 different states between 2019 and 2020. The index fits well the real milk loss observed during heat events, thus confirming the validity of the index. »

Jordan Kraft Lambert, business development director at VAAS : « Heat stress has always been an issue here in the States. the data used by ITK for this validation study (which was provided by VAAS) was made more meaningful through the use of the index. »

What is the the main field of expertise of ITK’s partner Skyline ? What are the carachteristics of Heat Stress Protect ?

Laurent Sabatie , executive director at Skyline partners « Skyline is a UK insurtech company specialising in index based solutions, which supports insurance companies and other companies to create new insurance solutions. It provides the parametric technology and the calculation services behind the insurance. Heat Stress Protect is automated insurance solution, which does not require any claim adjustment nor expert on the field. The reimbursements are transparent, as everything is driven by data and by indexes. Payouts are automatically made at the end of the season. Starting from agroclimatic data, the THI and the economic loss index are calculated, using formulas based on academic research.

The index not only considers economic losses due to milk yield decrease, but also increased costs for the farm due heat mitigation measures, decreased cow health and decline in milk quality. The inputs required by Heat Stress Protect are minimal : geographical coordinates of the farm, the size of the herd and the level of coverage requested .

What is interesting and innovative about Heat Stress Protect ?

Laurent Sabatie : « This product can be of interest to insurance companies (to enrich and differentiate insurers portfolios), dairy cooperatives (member loyalty), agricultural suppliers (differentiation, client loyalty) and dairy processing companies (capital protection).

Its innovative side and its interest lie also in the fact that climate change is actually increasing risks in agriculture and traditional insurance methods are not adapted to cover them »

Jordan Kraft Lambert : « the index is interesting for us not only because of economic mitigation of heat stress but because it provides us with a forecast that allows timely measures to be put in place to help cattle adapt to heat»

How can I subscribe to Heat Stress Protect ? when will it be available ?

Julie Dewez, smart farming manager at Medria solutions : « This year Medria solutions embedded Heat Stress Protect into Farmlife, as part of the « Heat adapt» service,  a new heat stress monitoring platform allowing to visualise daily THI and its evolution over the season. This service was freely given on trial to 500 farms who already subscribed to Farmlife (full offer) for a total of about 50000 cows. Next year different insurance levels will be available,  also to users that will not buy the Farmlife package. »

Bennet Holmes : « Heat Stress Protect can be a standalone product or it can be embedded into other products such as in the case of Farmlife. For insurers, it can be part of insurance packages that target different types of client profiles. It will soon be available internationally and in a it might be adapted to cover economic losses linked to heat stress in other types of animal. Heat Stress Protect will be marketed internationally starting from 2022 »

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R&D agronomy and modelling