WeatherBill, a leading provider of weather insurance, announced the launch of the first full-season weather insurance program for U.S. winter wheat growers.
Available for the 2012 crop year, WeatherBill's Total Weather Insurance (TWI) Winter Wheat 2012 represents a new, technology-enhanced approach to insurance that protects farmers against weather-related crop loss, providing them with unprecedented profit protection.
"The increased frequency of extreme weather events coupled with dramatically increased input costs exposes U.S. wheat growers to greater financial risk than ever before," said David Friedberg, chief executive officer of WeatherBill. "Now, for the first time, growers can protect their profits from weather-related losses not covered by federal crop insurance."
Created with insight from agronomists and growers nationwide, Total Weather Insurance addresses growers' exposure to financial loss even when they fully utilize federal crop insurance programs. Total Weather Insurance provides growers with the ability to lock in profits by covering against weather events that cause production shortfalls, before government coverage kicks in. This enables farmers to finally manage the perennial challenge of poor weather which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), causes 90 percent of crop losses.
Unlike traditional crop insurance, which requires verification of crop yield, planting volume and inspections prior to payment for damages, WeatherBill automatically sends payment when the weather conditions the grower specifies occur, as measured by independent sources such as the National Weather Service. In addition, WeatherBill helps growers' cash flow by not requiring TWI premium payments until after harvest.
TWI enables growers to cost-effectively protect themselves from a wide range of previously underinsured weather-related risks during the entire growing season. Incorporating advanced agronomy, historical yield and loss data, weather history and advanced forecasts for the grower's specific crop and location, Total Weather Insurance covers farmers' individual circumstances and the specific weather-related risks for their crop. Key weather perils covered by TWI Winter Wheat 2012 include:
• Early Stage Drought that can limit germination and fall tillering
• Planting Rain that can delay planting and limit fall tillering
• Freeze Damage that occurs after the first warm spell of the spring
• Spring Drought from post-dormancy through grain fill
• Heat Stress from flowering through grain fill
• Spring/Harvest Rain that can lead to disease problems or delay harvest
"Even with the best farm management practices, the weather is what really makes or breaks winter wheat yields," said Mark Hodges, Executive Director of Plains Grains, Inc. and former Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. "Coming off a year when we have seen drought and heat decimate the crop in Oklahoma, Texas and parts of Kansas, growers may want to take a close look at solutions that reduce their exposure to financial losses caused by poor weather conditions."
With its sophisticated weather modeling system, WeatherBill enables growers to see how TWI would have protected them in past years based on an analysis of historical USDA crop production and weather data for their location. Growers can then choose a Total Weather Insurance plan created specifically for them that reflects the desired yields in order to lock in profits for the upcoming 2012 season.
TWI Winter Wheat 2012 brings the groundbreaking benefits to wheat growers that WeatherBill brought to corn and soybean growers in 2011. Farmers and agents alike quickly recognized the value of this new kind of insurance that protects against the unpredictability of weather during crucial growing season periods. Policyholders in over 50% of counties where TWI corn and soybean policies were purchased have already received payment this season due to excessive early season rain.
"The weather is something that's just not controllable, and it can throw any plan awry," said David Myerholtz, an Ohio farmer who grows1,800 acres of wheat, corn and soybeans. "That's why what WeatherBill offers is so important. It gives me something I can't get with any other kind of insurance-protection against the adverse weather conditions I can't control. With the ever-present fear that the weather will reduce my crop yield and profits, WeatherBill puts my mind at ease."
As part of the TWI program, WeatherBill offers growers and their crop insurance agents a free, personalized Weather Risk Report that quickly identifies an expected range of profit-per-acre for the 2012 crop year and the key weather perils that typically cause financial loss, based on crop, location, input costs and federal crop insurance coverage levels. The report also provides growers and agents with a TWI program recommendation designed to optimize individual profit-per-acre for the 2012 crop year. To get a free customized Weather Risk Report, growers can simply visit www.weatherbill.com
"I recommend Total Weather Insurance to my clients as an important addition to their risk management strategy," said Chuck Gabel, an independent crop insurance agent with CG Insurance Agency, LLC in Fremont, Ohio. "WeatherBill protects farmers against bad weather, which is a key risk to their livelihood that until now they could do very little about."
TWI Winter Wheat 2012 is available now in Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming for the 2012 crop season. To find an authorized WeatherBill agent in your area, go to www.weatherbill.com. Full season weather coverage of the 2012 winter wheat crop is available to growers who sign up by Sept. 30, 2011.