ZEP-RE expands partnership with Planet Labs for drought program

The initiative helps shield against risks in the Horn of Africa

ZEP-RE expands partnership with Planet Labs for drought program


By Kenneth Araullo

Planet Labs PBC, a provider of daily Earth data and insights, has announced a contract extension with ZEP-RE, an African reinsurance company based in Nairobi, Kenya.

The extension follows a successful first year of collaboration and sets the stage for a continued partnership on a five-year project concluding in October 2027.

ZEP-RE currently uses Planet’s solutions to enhance its insurance program, supporting over two million pastoralists affected by drought in the Horn of Africa (HOA). The program employs a drought index customized by location to determine payout amounts, premium rates, and facilitate direct claims payments to pastoralists.

Initially, the program aimed to reach 1.6 million pastoralists by year five but achieved this milestone in year two.

“Drought is a persistent threat not only to the health and well-being of livestock in the HOA but also to the livelihoods of communities, impacting their economic stability, social cohesion, and overall quality of life,” Berend de Jong, Global Insurance & Finance Lead at Planet, said in a news release.

He noted that their data serves as a powerful tool for ZEP-RE to develop and implement insurance programs that help protect the livelihoods of pastoralists in drought-vulnerable regions, providing transparency and trust for all partners involved. De Jong emphasized the strength of their satellite network in ensuring data continuity.

ZEP-RE uses Planet satellite data and reporting to measure vegetation health over an area exceeding 1,000,000 km² in the HOA. This data allows ZEP-RE to assess conditions, provide objective drought measurements, and expedite payouts to affected pastoralists.

Hope Murera, CEO at ZEP-RE, commented on the partnership’s impact for the region.

“Since our partnership began, we have been impressed by the resilience and scope of Planet’s data set. Through near-daily data availability, we can track shifting NDVI values with high frequency, helping us be more efficient in our payouts to better serve these vulnerable communities affected by drought,” Murera said.

The collaboration between ZEP-RE and Planet began in October 2022 as part of the DRIVE program, which aims to enhance pastoralists’ access to financial services for drought risk mitigation, include them in value chains, and facilitate livestock trade.

Since then, ZEP-RE has leveraged Planet’s satellite data to implement the risk protection product, supporting business continuity and expanding its work in the region. DRIVE is a World Bank-funded project in partnership with the governments of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

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