Startup Wetterheld offers weather insurance for farmers and organizers of outdoor events
It all started at a folk festival in Hamburg, Germany. Nikolaus Haufler, founder of Wetterheld and participant of InsurTech Hub Munich’s 2020 Innovation Programme, chatted up some showmen and asked them how business was running. A large part of the answers he received was weather related.
Outdoor event organizers, showmen and restaurateurs rely on good weather to generate sales – a determinant that can neither be predicted nor manipulated. Nikolaus got curious: Why aren’t those people insured for bad weather? The answer quickly became clear: there was no individual, digital solution. Yet.
What rain is for showmen, drought is for farmers
What rain and thunderstorms are for showmen, drought is for farmers. Insufficient rainfall can ruin the harvest. Many farmers are already alarmed because of the unusually dry weather this spring, as it may jeopardize their entire harvest and, in some cases, their very existence. Wetterheld is approaching farmers with short-term insurance solutions against drought, which can be closed quickly and digitally, allowing for small sums to be insured. The idea is that clients can claim disbursements in the event of drought immediately once the insurance period has ended – regardless of whether the harvest has already taken place or not. “It is the only product of its kind internationally”, Nikolaus asserts.
“What’s the weather like?” is more than just a phrase for some
Wetterheld has launched in February 2020 and has already won several customers – though the audience for outdoor events is reasonably limited these days due to the COVID-19 related restrictions. “But we expect potential clients to be even more considerate of risks – and related insurance solutions – in the future because of what we all experience during the corona crisis”, says the founder.
Nikolaus started to develop Wetterheld in his free time and at the weekends, while still working full-time in big international consulting firms. Together with his brother Peter, a mathematician trained in risk management in the financial sector, Nikolaus calculated a proprietary weather risk model. The brothers were able to win ELEMENT Insurance AG as an insurance partner at their side. In sales they have support from a fifth generation showman – who could be better suited?
“We have a lot of ideas for expanding our model,” Nikolaus states. Obviously not only agriculture, event managers or catering businesses care about the weather. The construction industry, the energy sector, holiday resorts and many other areas are also heavily dependent on favorable conditions.
And of course bad weather is not just an issue in Germany. Wetterheld wants to go international as soon as possible, the founders are already talking to insurance companies and investors in Austria. “Participating in InsurTech Hub’s Innovation Programme, we’ve met super interesting other founders. The many discussions with experts have brought us forward in all areas and our pitch deck is getting better every week. It was a very good decision to apply“, says Nikolaus, “and, hey, we love the weather down south in Munich!”.
Text: Kristina Püschel