Potential use of weather derivatives in hedging aggregate viticulture yields: An analysis of the Niagara region of Canada
Although potentially useful for financially hedging systemic weather-related risks, weather contracts/derivatives (also referred to as parametric insurance) have not seen wide adop- tion in agriculture outside of applications in developing countries, frequently supported by governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A significant impediment is the lack of financial firms willing to stand ready to sell weather derivatives to individual agricultural producers in the over-the-counter market who, due to the localized nature of weather, face idiosyncratic weather-related risks. In particular, the administrative and rein- surance costs of supplying relatively small contracts with specific terms to many different producers are often prohibitive. The current study considers the potential use of weather derivatives in hedging the aggregate yield/revenues of viticulture producers represented by an industry association located in the province of Ontario, Canada. We examine the sen- sitivity of aggregate industry yields to several relevant weather-related risks employing copula function analysis. We then consider the potential of a weather derivative in hedging the financial risk associated with cold winter temperatures, which pose the greatest risk to aggregate vinifera yields. The issue of attributing costs and payouts to individual associa- tion members remains unresolved, and several alternatives are suggested.
Keywords: hedging; parametric insurance; viticulture; weather contracts