Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Science-based insurance

Crops are at risk in a changing climate. Farmers in the developing world will be able to insure against harvest failure if robust insurance packages, based on a geophysical index rather than individual loss, become widely available.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. US Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources and Biodiversity in the United States (US Climate Change Science Program, 2008).

  2. Skees, J. R. Agr. Resource Econ. Rev. 37, 1–15 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Hellmuth, M., Osgood, D., Hess, U., Moorhead, A. & Bhojwani, H. Index Insurance and Climate Risk: Prospects for Development and Disaster Management Vol. 115 (International Research Institute for Climate and Society, 2009).

    Google Scholar 

  4. Schwank, O. et al. Insurance as an Adaptation Option Under UNFCCC. Background paper (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, 2010).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Balzer, N. & Rispoli, F. The Potential for Scale and Sustainability in Weather Index Insurance for Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods (United Nation's World Food Program, 2010).

    Google Scholar 

  6. Gine, X. & Yang, D. J. Dev. Econ. 89, 1–11 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Tucker, C. J. Remote Sens. Environ. 8, 127–150 (1979).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Molly E. Brown.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Brown, M., Osgood, D. & Carriquiry, M. Science-based insurance. Nature Geosci 4, 213–214 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing