Muzzle pattern, similar to fingerprint in humans, is unique to each bovine. Surabhi ID, the muzzle-based identity technology launched by Chennai-based start-up Dvara e-Dairy Solutions during the middle of the pandemic last year, is now a boon for insurers to identify the bovine during insurance claims.

In the last few years, insurers relied on ear tags and injectable RFID tags for identification of the bovine, but were prone to tampering and discomfort to cattle. Surabhi ID provides an easier solution — with just a smartphone and an app — to identify the bovine. This is critical to track productivity, health management and avoid duplication of the asset while offering financial services like insurance, said KA Ravi, Founder & CEO, Dvara E-Dairy Solutions. "We work with all the top insurance companies," he told BusinessLine.

Dhandapani, a farmer in Tiruvallur, found that the ID tag on his bovine’s ear was missing. Using Surabhi ID app, he just clicked the bovine’s muzzle and sent it to the insurance company. The image was validated and the identity proved.

Ravi said that Dvara e-dairy leverages Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to capture, retrieve and verify bovine’s identity based on the muzzle prints. Every individual has unique fingerprints that are captured for Aadhaar identification. Similarly, for bovine, it is muzzle prints. “For bovines using the unique muzzle prints, we want to create an identification process, similar to Aadhar identification for individuals using fingerprints,” he said.

In the last three quarters, around 25,000 cattle have been onboarded by insurance companies across 10 States. Testing was done independently by insurance companies and government agencies for 894 bovine and internally testing was done for over 10,000 bovines ( cows and buffaloes). The testing was randomised and covered multiple bovine types, breeds and stages. The accuracy was 99 per cent. To develop the model of the algorithm, over one million muzzle images were used, he said.

“Insurance firms have tested 553 dead bovines independently using our solution. After the bovine’s death, the muzzle print will be active for a few hours,” he said. The company gets revenue from insurance companies who pay on a subscription model, he added.

A huge game-changer

Anand Pejawar, Deputy Managing Director, SBI General Insurance, says that technological advancements in muzzle reading are a huge game-changer for insurers offering cattle insurance. Rural households may suffer financial setbacks in the unforeseen event of loss of cattle and insurance is imperative in such a scenario. However, one of the key challenges faced by insurers is authenticating a claim by correctly identifying the cattle insured, and muzzle reading through a unique digital identity helps address this gap. “We believe that this will potentially grow the market for cattle insurance. Our association with Dvara E-dairy enables us to leverage technology-driven solutions for our cattle insurance offering.”

IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company uses muzzle print as a secondary identification method, along with conventional tags, and is happy with the success ratio of the validation process at the time of claim. This is emerging as a promising technology for identification in bovines, said Subrata Mondal, Executive Vice-President, Head underwriting, Risk Management & Product Development, IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company.

C Soundararajan, Director, Centre for Animal Health Studies, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Tanuvas), said that muzzle identity technology has been validated at the university through the facilitation of VIF@TANUVAS, an Incubation centre established by the financial support of Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation Institute of Tamil Nadu Government for nurturing start-ups.