An Introduction to the Development and Regulation of Agricultural Insurance in China

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Food prices for wheat, maize, corn or soybeans have risen in the last 18 months markedly, mainly as a result of a growing imbalance between supply and demand for agricultural products. Since 2000, prices for food have nearly doubled around the world. The supply side is not keeping up with the increase in demand. Direct investments into agriculture production are still remarkably low. This issue is being addressed at both the national and international level. For example, within the Commonwealth, Ministers of Finance, at their Annual Meeting in October 2008, called on the international community to intensify its support for affected countries and to accelerate both short and longer term investments in increasing agricultural production and productivity. In order to contribute to these global efforts, Swiss Re is partnering with the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) to help develop Private Public Partnerships (PPP) with interested countries for agriculture investment and risk management. Government subsidized crop insurance programs almost always take the form of a Private Public Partnership (PPP) where governments collaborate with the insurance sector. Successful PPP even go further and include risk transfer to the domestic as well as international reinsurance market for peak exposure. In national agriculture pools, risk is aggregated and shared among insurance companies while peak risks are secured by stateowned reinsurers in some markets. In some occasions, governments leverage the use of capital market instruments to smooth and protect budgets at reduced opportunity costs. For this, partners outside the insurance sector are involved in the PPP concept so that governments can benefit from the same solutions as already used in the corporate business segment.