Baloise cloud seeder protecting Switzerland against hail damage
Staff Writer |
Baloise is now the first in Switzerland to use its own light aircraft to protection the population against hail damage.
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Every year, hailstorms cost the Swiss economy millions of francs as well as destroying crops and resulting in damage that causes the people affected a great deal of time and trouble.
Baloise’s Simply Safe strategy, with its firm focus on the customer, is now broadening its range of hail-related services and taking a major step towards the future of prevention-related activities.
To complement its hail damage drive-in, which drivers can visit at their convenience to have their vehicle inspected, Baloise’s cloud seeder is now ensuring that hailstorms in Switzerland are lighter or – even better – do not occur in the first place.
In order to reduce the probability of hail by up to 50 percent, a small aircraft fitted with a special spraying device flies beneath the hail cloud and releases silver iodide – which causes no damage to the environment – in the centre of the upwinds.
Because silver iodide acts as an ice nucleus, it prevents large and heavy hailstones from forming that might otherwise cause damage.
Instead, lots of smaller hailstones are formed that fall to the ground in the form of wet snow or, preferably, rain. Mathias Zingg, member of the Baloise Executive Committee and Head of Claims at Baloise Insurance, is delighted with this new initiative: “In Germany, Austria and the US, cloud seeders have been used for decades to prevent damage. Thanks to the Baloise cloud seeder, Switzerland is now also benefiting from this efficient means of averting heavy hailstorms.
“Dents in shiny new cars will be a thing of the past. And it’s not just our customers who stand to gain from this, but anyone who lives in the protected region.”
Baloise’s cloud seeder is ready for use now and will initially cover the German-speaking part of Switzerland from the Birrfeld airfield. An extension of the fleet to cover the Romandy and Switzerland’s Italian-speaking areas is currently under review. ■