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Portfolio effects and the willingness to pay for weather insurances

Agricultural Finance Review

ISSN: 0002-1466

Article publication date: 5 May 2008


Since the mid‐1990s, agricultural economists have discussed the relevance of index‐based insurances, also called “weather derivatives”, as hedging instruments for volumetric risks in agriculture. Motivated by the question of how weather derivatives should be priced for agricultural firms, this paper describes an extended risk‐programming model which can be used to determine farmers’ willingness to pay (demand function) for weather derivative’s farm‐specific risk reduction capacity and the individual farmer’s risk acceptance. Applying it to the exemplary case of a Brandenburg farm reveals that even a highly standardized contract which is based on the accumulated rainfall at the capital’s meteorological station in Berlin‐Tempelhof generates a relevant willingness to pay. Our findings suggest that a potential underwriter could even add a loading on the actuarially fair price which exceeds the level of traditional insurances. Since translation costs are low compared to insurance contracts, this finding indicates there may be a relevant trading potential.



Musshoff, O., Hirschauer, N. and Odening, M. (2008), "Portfolio effects and the willingness to pay for weather insurances", Agricultural Finance Review, Vol. 68 No. 1, pp. 83-97.



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