New Online Service for Hedging Weather Risk
The potential market for weather risk coverage is huge, since as much as 70% of American businesses are impacted by weather in some way. While the risks for companies like agricultural firms are obvious, businesses from movie theaters—which see ticket sales slump on sunny days—to transportation companies and clothing manufacturers are affected by the weather. It's estimated that $2 trillion to $3 trillion of the United States' nearly $14 trillion G.D.P. is weather-sensitive.
Businesses have long bought insurance against weather-related damages; more recently, they have been able to buy weather futures contracts on exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, but the offerings are largely linked to temperature and are unwieldy and expensive for smaller companies.
As businesses contemplate losing massive amounts of money from events like droughts and hurricanes, the new online service WeatherBill (company slogan: "Get Paid for Bad Weather") hopes to carve out a market in the growing field of weather-related risk-management products, offering what are essentially weather futures contracts to companies with an internet-era twist. The contracts pay off automatically without any kind of claims process based on objective weather measurements like the inches of rain a given area receives.
HT: Brian Ruppert