History of Watts and Associates, Inc.

Founded in 1986, the firm’s projects have included more than 50 major ongoing or completed contracts with clients including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), Agri and AgriFood Canada, World Bank, World Bank International Finance Corporation (IFC). In additional to the large contracts, W&A has performed hundreds of smaller projects with an extensive client list including the U.S. Department of Justice, Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the State of Montana, as well as agricultural producers groups and private entities including over 1,500 individual clients. Watts and Associates, Inc. (W&A), a Billings, Montana based qualified small business under Title 13, Code of Federal Regulations, part 121 (13 CFR part121), Small Business Size Regulations, is an economic consulting firm specializing in crop insurance development, agricultural finance, and econometric consulting.

Watts and Associates, Inc. is consistently engaged in multiple ongoing consulting contracts with the Federal Government, private industry, and producer organizations. W&A has developed unique expertise in providing recommendations for limiting fraud, waste, and abuse within crop insurance programs and endeavors to apply that specialized expertise in the private sector. Research and development of satellite and weather crop insurance schemes has been a major focus for W&A recently. W&A’s research and development acumen was foundational to the launch of the real-time, web-deployed, customized weather peril product to be marketed by eWeatherRisk. This platform and the underlying econometric rating model developed by W&A are applicable for several commercial and agricultural applications. W&A’s core competency remains in the econometric and statistical modeling arena.

The four senior W&A employees collectively have more than a century of economic, econometric, database management, and crop insurance experience. The key W&A personnel include Mr. Tim Watts, Dr. Myles Watts, Dr. Joseph Atwood, Dr. James Driscoll, Dr. Craig R. Landgren, Mr. John Kuhling, and Mr. Alex Offerdahl. The W&A professional staff has published numerous peer-reviewed articles focused on economics, econometrics, crop insurance, and crop biology.

In addition to our many domestic projects, W&A has a strong and growing interest in working with foreign governments and non-governmental organizations to facilitate the transfer of technical expertise in crop insurance development and agricultural finance. Risk management transfer programs, including crop insurance, provide a basis for stabilizing local, regional, and national agriculture infrastructure, thereby providing a basis for more regionally stable economies in many countries. Agriculture is the mainstay of many underdeveloped and developing countries and providing a stabilizing influence to these countries is a primary goal of W&A. Crop insurance, in a myriad of forms, has the potential to further that goal and W&A has recently completed World Bank technical assistance contracts to provide training in agricultural finance and risk management to World Bank Regional personnel in the Washington D.C. offices and provided onsite training in development and operation of Agricultural support programs to Ministry of Agriculture personnel in New Delhi, India. W&A is currently involved in transferring agriculture crop insurance knowledge to students, government officials, regulators, and insurance company representatives in Ukraine as part of a contract with IFC-Ukraine. Furthermore, W&A is proceeding with a contract to provide innovative solutions to agricultural risk based on weather indices in Canada. This commitment to innovation in crop risk management and stabilization of agricultural economies is reflected in W&A’s participation in all its development projects, both domestic and foreign.

The “liberalization” of international trade has heightened government interest in risk management strategies which promote local agriculture yet comply with global trade agreements. Crop insurance, in a myriad of forms, has the potential to further that interest. Many private insurance and reinsurance firms see agricultural insurance as an opportunity to expand their business operations and diversify risk portfolios with potentially uncorrelated exposures. However, to be effective, viable, and attractive to insurance markets, crop insurance programs need to follow sound actuarial and operating principles, be designed for local conditions, be valuable to the agricultural community, and be appropriately priced for the risk exposures. While interest in agricultural risk management is expanding, design knowledge and practical operating experience resides with relatively few experts worldwide. To this end, W&A has formed a “non-profit” International Institute for Agriculture Risk Management devoted to the development of intelligent yet practical solutions to transfer risk associated with crop and livestock production and foster agricultural risk management efforts globally.

In both the private and governmental sectors, W&A has earned a reputation for delivering high-quality outputs in a timely manner. The firm’s professional staff represents a unique marriage of advanced degrees and professional experience to develop initiatives and meet client needs.