IAG invests in Australian start-up Digital Agriculture Services
25 May 2020
IAG has invested in CSIRO-backed Digital Agriculture Services (DAS), to better assess physical risk remotely and rapidly for Agri customers and help Australian rural communities become safer and more resilient.
IAG is the largest agribusiness insurer in Australia and offers insurance under its NRMA Insurance, CGU and WFI brands.
DAS, established in 2017, is an Australian rural technology start-up. It caters to the growing appetite for AI-powered rural, Agri and climate risk intelligence that puts science in the hands of decision-makers – including farmers, lenders, insurers, commodity traders and rural suppliers.
The investment will help NRMA Insurance, CGU and WFI Agri customers better understand and manage their farm property risk by using new data and location insights from satellite imagery.
In the first phase of the partnership, IAG and DAS will provide all Australian rural property owners with access to a free risk report that outlines bushfire and climate risks, to help farmers better understand and prepare for natural disasters.
IAG Ventures Director Scott Gunther said combining DAS data, geospatial imaging, analytics and AI machine learning with IAG’s Agri insurance knowledge will also provide the potential to reinvent insurance for Australian farmers.
“In partnership with DAS we will be able to empower Agri customers with data and insights about their property and assets to help them better understand and prepare for risk. The insights and learnings are going to also allow us to explore new products and services for Australian farmers.
“As distributed and mobile workforces become more common, the real power of DAS is that it empowers employees and communities alike to make the right decisions rapidly and remotely,” Mr Gunther said.
DAS co-founder and CEO Anthony Wilmott (above) said: “The technology has advanced to the point where it’s now possible to say what the risk is for this particular rural property, farm or portfolio, from anywhere in the world. That kind of property-level insight just wasn’t possible even a decade ago.
“Most ag-tech is about precision agriculture – helping decisions at plant or livestock level. We’re excited to work with IAG to help transform how off-farm decisions are made. IAG is also going to help DAS to develop out a Rural Insurance Hub in our product, which will be something that could benefit Rural insurers and farmers across the world,” Mr Wilmot said.
DAS technology offers a virtual window into any rural, lifestyle or agricultural property, allowing customers to see, understand and assess physical risk remotely, including drought stress, flood, frost, fire, water or land use.
The platform also analyses and predicts productivity; assesses factors such vegetation, flood or water; and offers risk scores for every rural property, including for bushfire.
IAG’s investment in DAS reflects the growing global demand for rapid, remote and robust property and farm-scale analytics that harness advances in machine-learning and can accurately and objectively assess the risks related to weather and climate change.
IAG Firemark Ventures invests in companies with the capacity to materially alter how we do business. IAG is Australia’s largest general insurer and offers insurance under its NRMA Insurance, CGU, SGIO, SGIC and WFI brands.
DAS was founded three years ago in Melbourne with a vision to create the world’s leading rural intelligence company.
The company brings together deep digital, domain knowledge, business and delivery expertise to offer greater access to data-driven insights, backed by science, that can build the prosperity and sustainability of global agriculture.
About Firemark Ventures
Firemark Ventures is IAG’s strategic $75m venture capital fund. Its purpose is to bring the outside world in to IAG, by strategically partnering with and investing in startups that have the capacity to materially alter IAG’s business. Firemark Ventures investments include Airtasker, Life360, HyperAnna, UpGuard and ActivePipe.