For Insurance & banking

Droughts are among the world’s costliest agricultural disasters. The right volume of water is essential for yield, and water damage to crops brings enormous costs that could have been avoided.


VanderSat reduces the impact of drought on farmers by helping to develop smarter crop insurance, in collaboration with the world’s most innovative (re)insurers and brokers. The damage from drought worldwide amounted to US$22 billion in 2019, while only US$2 billion was covered by insurance: over 90% of farmers’ agricultural losses remain uninsured.

We work with the world’s most innovative (re)insurers and brokers, developing smarter crop insurance to protect customers from the enormous and avoidable costs of drought and water damage. Together we developed the Drought Insurance Index and Credit Score Improvement for Banks.

Our clients in insurance & banking:

See all our insurance cases


Our solution: Provide soil moisture data

Until recently only rainfall or weather station data was available to crop-growth analysts, but this only provides an indirect measure of the water available to the plant.

Rainfall data fails to account for other key processes such as evaporation, water run-off and the role played by groundwater. Soil moisture is an indicator of all these factors, a reliable measure of the water that is directly available to the plant.


Our solution: Provide data at a consistently high resolution

In 2016, VanderSat patented its own downscaling technique for application to passive microwave observations with a typical spatial resolution of 25×25 km. VanderSat reconstructs the antenna footprints for each individual observation and uses the abundant overlaps to downscale to a product resolution of 100×100 m.

High resolution of 100x100 meter

Rainfall is often measured by weather stations that are more than 30 km apart. Data for the gaps between stations is modelled but not actually measured. Public satellite soil moisture data: 9×9 km or 25×25 km. VanderSat’s unique dataset has pixels of 100m, significantly reducing basis risk.

Not hindered by cloud cover

NDVI satellite products that provide vegetation indices are hindered by cloudy conditions and saturation of signal, making them less useful for agriculture insurance purposes. One major advantage of microwave sensing is that cloud cover does not interfere with measurements. Our data is not hindered by cloud cover and always available.

More than 19 years of historical data available

We have been collecting daily information on soil moisture from a range of satellites for many years. This makes it possible to develop pricing for any parametric insurance relating to soil moisture.


Our solution: Act as an independent calculation agent

  • VanderSat is fully independent of all other players in the insurance sector. This position ensures the objectivity of data delivery to farmers, cooperatives, brokers, and (re)insurers
  • Scalable data service. Unlike modelled data and data from weather stations, VanderSat provides a consistent data service with a long history, across the globe.

By the way…

The European Space Agency (ESA) recently published a short video on SMOS drought monitoring, explaining its insurance applications, closely working together with VanderSat.

Contact Berend

Tell me what type of crop insurance you want and where you plan to use it. I’ll tell you about the VanderSat geospatial building blocks you need and any implications for your existing crop insurance offering.

Berend de Jong MSc
Director of Insurance &