Tag Archives: GPS trackers

Beehive theft

Insurance policies are costly for beehive theft.  Very few beekeepers are compensated for their losses. Beekeepers provide millions of hives to California almond tree growers between December and March each year.

Beehive thefts are on the rise. More than 2 million hives are needed to pollinate California almond trees. Experts believe that beekeepers are behind the thefts. They have the knowledge as well as the equipment to take the hives. Up to 200 hives are stolen in one go. The hives are generally unmarked, however, some beekeepers are putting GPS tracking units in their hives. Someone stealing the hives makes pure profit from the honey in the hives without any upfront work.

The problem of beehive theft is also prevalent across England and Wales. Certain strains of Queen bees can fetch up to 180 British pounds each. Bee mortality insurance is furthermore covered when bee losses occur due to “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD). The chief symptom is no or a low number of adult honey bees present but with a live queen and no dead honey bees in the hive. Researchers who are trying to find out the cause of CCD are focussing on the invasive Varroa mite. According to a 2007 article, the mite Varroa destructor remains the world’s most honeybee killer. It results in deformed wing virus and acute bee paralysis. The bees also suffer a compromised immune system. New studies are finding that a group of insecticides called Neonicotinoids are also the possible cause of CCD.

Other causes being considered are pesticides, fungi, the use of antibiotics and the long-distance transport of hives.
In addition, malnutrition, poor quality Queens and immunodeficiencies. The USDA is currently piloting two Apiculture insurance programs in various states across the USA. Broken Arrow Crop Insurance can also offer programs for beekeeping operations. These programs are sold via private insurance companies.

Insurance and technology

The insurance industry has always been slow to grasp the different facets of technology. The reason lies in the fact that the industry is reliant on historical data. They are therefore understandably averse to risk.

The insurance industry is thus being put under pressure by technology. Customers want to pay an individualised insurance premium which reflects the actual risk taken by the insurance company.

The cyber security market is growing at an alarming rate. There is also pressure to incorporate and manage the risk more effectively. Traditional insurers are however reluctant to make plausible offers to vulnerable clients.

Huge amounts of data are provided by technology. In addition, insurers spend vast amounts of money on claim processing as well as fraud detection. New algorithms are able to predict risk. They allow for vast automation in the underwriting process. Furthermore, contracts can be managed more efficiently. Examples are wearables for healthcare and GPS trackers for cars.

Only about a fifth of insurers claim that they want to fully automate the process. Nearly 80% of insurers say they are struggling or just getting started with automation.

Between eight and fifteen factors are taken into account when an underwriter issues a policy. This may be a motor, home or life policy. As many as 60 answers may be required from a life insurance applicant. A sophisticated automated system could supply vast amounts of data.

Policy writers are wary of underwriting risk based on technology which supplies no justification for pricing.  Furthermore, staffing will be reduced with increased use of underwriting automation. Risk assessment algorithms will become more reliable. Executives will have increasing confidence in them. Low-level underwriting will become cheaper and more consistent.