Farmers urged to review crop insurance policies; report losses in timely manner
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
Date Modified: 09/10/2012 2:48 PM
CALMAR, Iowa — Citizens Savings Bank of Spillville and Fort Atkinson hosted a meeting last week at the Dairy Center at Calmar to provide area farmers with information on the crop insurance claims process.
Dave Bernhardt of Mason City All Risk Insurance Inc. said there are four types of crop insurance policies — yield protection, revenue protection, revenue protection with a harvest price exclusion, and group risk protection or GRP.
Yield protection protects against production losses. With revenue protection insurance, yield losses are paid at a rate equal to the average CME futures price during the month of October, if it exceeds the average February price of $5.68 for corn (December contract) or $12.55 for soybeans (November contract), Bernhardt said. With corn and soybean prices over $8 and $17, that price could potentially be higher than the February price.
Revenue protection with harvest price exclusion guarantees a minimum gross income per acre, but the revenue guarantee doesn't increase if prices rise between February and harvest. Premiums are cheaper than for revenue protection insurance.
For a group risk plan, if the average yield for the county in which the insured crop is located falls below the trigger level chosen, the producer receives a payment, regardless of the individual farm's yield.
Farmers who think they will be filing claims need to contact their insurance agents before doing anything to the crop, Bernhardt said. Agents in turn will notify adjusters.
"Adjusters are going to be very busy," Bernhardt said. "When they call, get it done. If you get put on the bottom of the pile, you may be waiting a long time."
If claims are completed before the harvest price is known, farmers will get paid at the $5.68 per bushel level for corn and $12.55 for soybeans. When the fall harvest price is known, farmers will get a second check. All farmers should get out their policies and review them with their agents. Any mistakes need to be fixed before filing claims.
Insurance premiums are due Oct. 1, one month earlier than last year. If the premium isn't paid by Oct. 1, farmers will be assessed interest. If a claim is more than $200,000 per crop per county, a farmer may be subject to a three-year audit of acres and yields reported for 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Bernhardt reminded farmers that if a combine fire destroys a field, the loss isn't covered by crop insurance. Hail policies cover fire, or farmers can buy a separate fire policy.
Neil Mason, with Rural Community Insurance Services in Clinton County, said aflatoxin, which can show up in drought-stressed corn, has to be tested in the field.
"If you want it tested in the field, we'll take a sample, but you have to pay for the sample," Mason said. "It's your responsibility to prove your loss. The cost is up to $30 per sample.''
Farmers who chop corn for silage need to get verification and then the adjuster will tell them what they need to do regarding leaving check strips for an appraisal. If there is old crop in a bin, it must be measured before new crop goes in or it will all count as 2012 production, Mason said.