Skip to content
Weather-focused IBISA raises seeds to support its microinsurance solutions for low-income smallholder farmers – TechCrunch

The agricultural microinsurance start-up IBISA has announced that it has raised a funding round of 1.5 million euros, or about 1.70 million dollars. The round was spearheaded by London-based specialist investor Insurtech Gateway, with input from Rockstart’s Agribusiness fund and others.

Microinsurance generally involves providing coverage to low-income people against a specific class of risk. In the case of IBISA, these are small farmers whose livelihoods could be affected by adverse weather events, which are unfortunately on the increase.

Although based in Luxembourg, the startup focuses on emerging markets, with a partnership approach. “We work with mutuals, insurers, microfinance institutions, research institutes, associations of farmers and breeders and governments,” explains its site.

Since its inception in 2019, the company has worked with partners in the Philippines, India and Niger. She now plans to use her funding to hire and expand her presence in existing and new markets.

It’s easy to see why farmers might be relieved to be compensated when their crops are damaged. But there are also several reasons why they don’t have farm insurance – most of them don’t, according to IBISA. On the one hand, the options can be too expensive; on the other hand, the paperwork for claiming a payment can be too daunting.

This is where the technology comes in: IBISA’s payments are supposed to be fast and hassle-free, because rather than asking for individual claims, it relies on a collective index. This is index insurance, also known as parametric insurance, since payments are triggered by a certain parameter – for example, the notification of catastrophic weather events.

This approach also helps lower operating costs on the insurer’s side, resulting in lower rates, said Stephen Brittain, co-founder of Insurtech Gateway.

“Historically, microinsurance was not commercially viable for many reasons such as low premiums, expensive claims handling, difficult distribution and lack of confidence.

What changed? Again, the technology.

If IBISA and others trust an index, it is because it is supported by data. Its co-founder and CEO María Mateo Iborra has worked for several years in the satellite industry, and a key part of the startup’s approach is its reliance on orbit images to assess damage. In addition, it draws on crowdsourced data from local “observers”.

Besides space technology and crowdsourcing, IBISA also has a blockchain element, which sees it as a way to cut costs. Its name actually stands for ‘Inclusive Blockchain Insurance Using Space Assets’ and it was accelerated by the European Union’s blockchain-focused Block.IS project.

The company also recently introduced himself during the Agri-Food demonstration day at Rockstart. Upon joining the program last September, IBISA co-founder Jean-Baptiste Pleynet mentioned the insurance, satellite and blockchain components of IBISA, as well as its potential to generate a positive impact.

But Pleynet also underlined an interesting point of synergy: “We believe that our solution will be very valuable for the agri-food industry to bring resilience to the supply chain and to manage climate risks and we wanted to accelerate this path”, he explained.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.