Price Index Insurances in the Agriculture Markets

30 Pages Posted: 1 May 2020

See all articles by Hirbod Assa

Hirbod Assa

University of Essex - Department of Mathematics

Meng Wang

University of Liverpool - Institute of Financial and Actuarial Mathematics

Date Written: April 7, 2020


In this paper, we introduce price index insurances on agricultural goods. Seemingly similar to derivatives, there are significant differences between price index insurances and derivatives. First, unlike derivatives, there are no entrance barriers for purchasing insurances, making them the risk management tools that are accessible to almost all farmers. Second, since insurances are issued at a certain number for any individual farm, unlike futures, for example, they cannot be used for speculation and are used solely for hedging price risk. Third, unlike forwards, they are heavily regulated and do not default and cause counterparty risk. Besides all differences (or benefits), such products have just recently been introduced in the agricultural insurance market. In this paper, we investigate if there could have been a financially viable market where these products are traded. More precisely, we investigate if an insurance company can design a portfolio of optimal contracts that gives a higher Sharpe ratio than the financial market index prices (in our paper FTSE 100 and other three major indexes). To reach the paper's objective we take three steps, by considering theoretical, practical and corporation standpoints. In the first step, we will see how an optimal contract would look like from the demand side in a theoretical setup and we obtain the optimal contract from the farmers' standpoint. In the second step, by adopting a more practical approach, by meeting the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) requirements set by the market participants (both demand and supply side), we find the optimal policy specifications from the first step, in the market equilibrium. This step also helps to find some unobservable market parameters like volatility. Finally, by adopting a corporation standpoint we encounter our model to the UK farm index prices and find an optimal portfolio of the products on products from 10 commodities. We find out that investing in such a business is financially viable, as the optimal insurance portfolio produces a Sharpe ratio that outperforms FTSE 100 and other major market indexes.

Keywords: Agricultural risk management; data analysis; pricing; financial engineering; portfolio management

JEL Classification: G00, G1, C00, C1, Q14

Suggested Citation

Assa, Hirbod and Wang, Meng, Price Index Insurances in the Agriculture Markets (April 7, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Hirbod Assa (Contact Author)

University of Essex - Department of Mathematics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Meng Wang

University of Liverpool - Institute of Financial and Actuarial Mathematics ( email )

Peach Street
Liverpool, L697ZL
United Kingdom
07460386765 (Phone)

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