Need to contact crop insurance agents early

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The money and manpower is in place to handle crop insurance claims from this year’s drought situation, according to Bill Murphy, administrator of the USDA Risk Management Service.

Murphy is encouraging farmers with crop insurance to contact their agent/company to be sure that procedures are followed that will allow claims to be properly settled at the satisfaction of the farmers. Ag Professionals dealing with their customers could and should put a bug in the ear of their customers to contact their crop insurance companies, and farm managers have undoubtedly taken appropriate steps because that is part of their professional skill set to know when to do what.

Farmers shouldn’t just change direction on what they are doing such as chopping corn for silage instead of growing it for grain or abandoning it and not doing something that might mitigate damage, such as not irrigating or not spraying to control insects and disease. The insurance company needs included in a discussion of next steps before action is taken.

Murphy explained the situation in a discussion with Mike Adams, host of AgriTalk, during a Wednesday segment of the syndicated agricultural talk show. A short portion of Adams’ questions and Murphy’s answers are included with this article.

Money will be available to handle all the claims, Murphy said. He suggested that the insurance companies are in good financial shape and the government statute related to subsidy of crop insurance is stated as “funds necessary” to settle all claims.

He also noted that the crop insurance companies responded well in 2011 to claims around the country. “As a result of those losses last year, the companies have a very strong, experienced workforce.”

Farmers should not expect quite as short a claim settlement timeframe as years when there are a lot fewer claims, but he expects them to be settled in a timely manner. Farmers have shown patience in the past and he expects it again “as long as they are assured that their claim is in process and there’s an estimated date of payment.”

Certain areas of the Corn Belt have not had many claims in the last few years and making a claim under current rules will be a new experience for many, which is a reason for farmers to contact their insurance agent early. Both Adams and Murphy stressed that good communication is key. 

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