Former Lockton regional director Stephane Baldanoff has set up a Melbourne-headquartered start-up, Ceres Insurance Group, catering to Asia Pacific’s agriculture insurance market.

Baldanoff is a veteran in the agriculture sector with over two and half years experience as Asia Pacific director of food and agriculture at US broker Lockton, and another nine years as head of agriculture at JLT Asia (which is now part of Marsh).

Starting last month Baldanoff is now managing director of Ceres Insurance Group and told Insurance Asia News (IAN) that climatic changes taking place in the region are creating unprecedented challenges for the agriculture sector. The broker is looking to cover crops, livestock, aquaculture, and forestry across Asia Pacific.

“The number of weather-related events which have caused catastrophic losses to agriculture across the Asia Pacific region is alarming and is forcing traditional farming regions to look at new and innovative ways to mitigate the risks associated with the effects of weather on yields and production,” Baldanoff said.

The use of technology to analyse weather patterns and to estimate the financial impact of extreme weather events will become paramount to good risk management, Baldanoff told IAN. “The rapid growth and popularity of parametric insurance will without a doubt help fill many of the gaps that are appearing within the traditional agriculture insurance market,” he added.

The broking group will focus particularly on the impact of climate change and the growing trend of extreme weather events, animal diseases, government regulation, and food safety for risks associated with agriculture and food production.

The firm will offer a range of technical services to domestic brokers across Asia and Australia. It will also support insureds and provide protection for yield and production losses by using a combination of technology-based risk management analysis and tailored insurance coverage.

Asia is expected to account for 50% of the global primary premium for agricultural insurance by 2022 driven by increasing penetration and coverage value, IAN has previously reported.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]