Sarvia, F; De Petris, S; Borgogno-Mondino, E (2020). Multi-scale remote sensing to support insurance policies in agriculture: from mid-term to instantaneous deductions. GISCIENCE & REMOTE SENSING, 57(6), 770-784.

Climate change is today one of the biggest issues for farmers. The increasing number of natural disasters and change of seasonal trends is making insurance companies more interested in new technologies that can somehow support them in quantifying and mapping risks. Remotely sensed data, with special focus on free ones, can certainly provide the most of information they need, making possible to better calibrate insurance fees in space and time. In this work, a prototype of service based on free remotely sensed data is proposed with the aim of supporting insurance companies' strategies. The service is thought to calibrate annual insurance rates, longing for their reduction at such level that new customers could be attracted. The study moves from the entire Piemonte region (NW Italy), to specifically focus onto the Cuneo province (Southern Piemonte), which is mainly devoted to agriculture. MODIS MOD13Q1-v6 and Sentinel-2 L2A image time series were jointly used. NDVI maps from MODIS data were useful to describe the midterm phenological trends of main crops at regional level in the period 2000-2018; differently, Sentinel-2 data permitted to map local crop differences at field level in 2016 and 2017 years. With reference to MODIS data, the average phenological behavior of main crop classes in the area, obtained from the CORINE Land Cover map Level 3, was considered using a time series decomposition approach. Trend analyses showed that the most of the crop classes alternated three phases (about 7 years) suggesting that, presently, this is probably the time horizon to be considered to tune mid-term algorithms for risk estimates in the agricultural context. Crop classes trends were consequently split into three phases and each of them modeled by a first-order polynomial function used to update correspondent insurance risk rate. Sentinel-2 data were used to map phenological anomalies at field level for the 2016 and 2017 growing seasons; shifts from class average behavior were considered to locally and temporarily tune insurance premium around its average trend as described at the previous step. Synthesizing, one can say that this approach, integrating MODIS and Sentnel-2 data, makes possible to locally and temporarily calibrate premiums of indexed insurance policies by describing the average trends of crop performance (NDVI) at regional level by MODIS data and refining it at field and specific crop level by Sentinel-2 data.