Mapping global research on agricultural insurance

S. Vyas*, T.P.F. Dalhaus, M.J. Kropff, P.K. Aggarwal, M.P.M. Meuwissen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


With a global market of 30 billion USD, agricultural insurance plays a key role in risk finance and contributes to climate change adaptation by achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including no poverty, zero hunger, and climate action. The existing evidence in agricultural insurance is scattered across regions, topics and risks, and a structured synthesis is unavailable. To address this gap, we conducted a systematic review of 796 peer-reviewed papers on agricultural insurance published between 2000 and 2019. The goal of this review was twofold: 1) categorizing agricultural insurance literature by agricultural product insured, research theme, geographical study area, insurance type and hazards covered, and 2) mapping country-wise research intensity of these indicators vis-à-vis historical and projected risk and crisis events—extreme weather disasters, projected temperature increase under SSP5 (Shared Socioeconomic Pathways) scenario and livestock epidemics. We find that insurance research is focused on high-income countries while crops are the dominating agricultural product insured (33% of the papers). Large producers in production systems like fruits and vegetables (South America), millets (Africa) and fisheries and aquaculture (South-east Asia) are not focused upon in the literature. Research on crop insurance is taking place where historical extreme weather disasters are frequent (correlation coefficient of 0.75), while we find a surprisingly low correlation between climate change induced temperature increases in the future and current research on crop insurance, even when sub-setting for papers on the research theme of climate change and insurance (-.04). There is also limited evidence on the role of insurance to scale adaptation and mitigation measures to de-risk farming. Further, we find that the study area of livestock insurance papers is weakly correlated to the occurrence of livestock epidemics in the past (-.06) and highly correlated to the historical drought frequency (.51). For insurance to play its relevant role in climate change adaptation as described in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we recommend governments, insurance companies and researchers to better tune their interest to risk-prone areas and include novel developments in agriculture which will require major investments, and, hence, insurability, in the coming years.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103003
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2021


  • agricultural insurance
  • climate change
  • extreme weather disasters
  • livestock epidemics
  • mapping
  • systematic review


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