Advisory Board

Agricultural Insurance Enablers, the BEACON project Advisory Board consists of individual high level external experts from Agricultural Insurance, Earth Observation, Risk Management analysis, Agricultural Industry, Farming community as well as International Organizations. They will steer the project activities and providing recommendations on the project development.

Dr. Ioannis N. Athanasiadis

Dr. Ioannis N. Athanasiadis is an Associate Professor with the Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing Lab at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands. His research focus is on the enabling role of information for investigating nature, and data science applications in the green life sciences. His expertise lies with data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, intelligent information systems, agent based modelling, geo-information science, knowledge engineering, metadata and ontologies. At Wageningen University he coordinates  the Data Science Minor, supervises one post-doc and six PhD students, and is the principal investigator for two major European grants on big data for data-driven agriculture [personal webpage]. 

Dr. Clement Atzberger

Dr. Clement Atzberger is Full Professor and Head of the Institute of Surveying, Remote Sensing and Land Information (IVFL) of BOKU University in Vienna, Austria. He is a remote sensing & GIS expert with more than 20 years overall project experience in land use/land cover classification and environmental monitoring using very high to low-resolution satellite imagery.He obtained his Ph.D. in crop growth modeling and remote sensing data assimilation. His technical experience includes the development and inversion of physically based radiative transfer models, the use of machine learning techniques for classification tasks as well as the estimation of vegetation biophysical variables such as LAI.He is also an expert for proper RS data pre-processing (such as atmospheric corrections) and time series analysis (incl. land surface phenology).

Mr. Christopher Genillard

Mr. Christopher Genillard is owner and Managing Director of Genillard & Co. GmbH, focusing on building and establishing innovative new business models and insurance products. He has a long-standing experience in risk, insurance and reinsurance business (Munich Re, UIR, Hartford) with global client experience. He has held senior management positions in the insurance and reinsurance centers in Munich and London. He has been consultant for far-reaching insurance market projects relating to agriculture, natural hazards and emerging risks. Mr. Genillard holds long and strong business relationships with multiple European agriculture insurers, and fosters valuable contacts throughout the insurance and reinsurance industry, sought out from within the industry, governments and academic bodies for board level expertise.He holds an MA in Economics, from the Vienna University.

Mr. Paul Meeusen

Mr. Meeusen commenced his career specializing in cash management and financial planning software, following which he was a Director in the Financial Advisory practice of PwC. He joined Swiss Re in 2000 where he assumed various leadership roles including CFO Corporate Insurance and Managing Director of Internal Audit, followed by senior roles across three continents in Finance, Operations, Risk Management. In 2016, he established Swiss Re's Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) team to design the first Blockchain use case for retrocession insurance. He co-founded the B3i - Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative - and lead its formation towards a consortium of 15 of the largest International Insurance companies, transformed it into a Technology Company with the same partners and became its first CEO. After implementing its solid foundation and developing the first B3i applications, Paul continued as an advisor to the B3i Board and assumed advisory roles to multiple insurance and technology organizations. Paul has published multiple articles on performance management, internal controls and DLT and is a frequent speaker on these topics. In 2018 he was elected by Acord among the top ten InsurTech global leaders. He holds a Master in Business Economics from Leuven University (Belgium) and is a Certified Internal Auditor.

Ms. Shilpa Pankaj

Ms. Shilpa Pankaj is Vice president with Guy Carpenter’s Asia Pacific team based out of London and has been in the re/insurance industry for 9 years. She started her career with Marsh India where she was taken on board to set up the first Micro Re/Insurance practice. During this time she worked on servicing and placing Health, Personal Accident & Agriculture insurance schemes run by the Indian government on facultative basis. She moved to Guy Carpenter London in March 2013 as a broker for the Non-Marine treaty business and is part of the agriculture specialty practice at GC. She has worked briefly in Singapore & Malaysia for some regional renewals. Shilpa has years of experience in dealing with insurance and reinsurance companies engaged in agriculture re/insurance business across Asia and Europe. She has an MBA in Marketing & Finance from Symbiosis International University and holds double graduate degrees, Bachelor in Arts and Bachelor of Business Administration in Banking & Finance. She is an Associate in Reinsurance (ARe), a DipCII and a Licentiate from Insurance Institute of India.

Mrs. Eleni Vakaki

Mrs. Eleni Vakaki is an Earth Observation expert - index insurance specialist at EARS/eLEAF. EARS, with its insurance business and proprietary Energy and Water Balance System and Relative Evapotranspiration dataset has recently been acquired by eLEAF. eLEAF is a remote sensing company in Wageningen, Netherlands, with expertise in agriculture and water management and is active worldwide, with experience in more than 50 countries. Eleni is responsible for risk analysis using earth observation data, structuring index insurance solutions, basis risk evaluation, data validation and exploring the applications of remote sensing for risk management products in general (e.g. credit scoring, loan schemes). Before joining EARS, she did her internship on the validation of forest fire index products for the Agriculture Underwriting team of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. She holds a Geomatics Engineering MSc from ETH, Zurich and she is motivated to be involved in shaping the agriculture insurance landscape.