Farm Bill Progress Update

As original published on the web page of Zurich’s crop insurance business unit, RCIS.

Crop insurance agents working with RCIS can rest assured that the company understands the role of the federal government in crop insurance. RCIS maintains a government affairs team to proactively share its perspective with policymakers in Washington, D.C., which is critically important with farm bill reauthorization underway.

Christy Seyfert leads RCIS government affairs efforts in the nation’s capital. She monitors policy developments and works daily to protect crop insurance and private sector delivery.

“The current farm bill expires September 30, 2018. House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders aim to keep the farm bill process on track and develop a farm bill that is responsive to farmers’ needs in this tough farm economy,” says Christy.

“We expect February, March, as the timeframe for pretty heavy activity at both the committee level in Congress as well as full House and full Senate consideration of the 2018 Farm Bill,” Christy says. “During these processes, critics will have the opportunity to offer amendments to the farm bill.”

RCIS places a priority on maintaining a robust crop insurance program delivered by the private sector. “We want to make sure that in this difficult farm economy, farmers continue to have access to affordable crop insurance coverage that is delivered in a timely and personalized manner by the private sector,” Christy says.

“We’re pleased that the committee leadership recognizes the value in crop insurance for farmers, consumers, and taxpayers,” Christy says. “They have heard farmers and ranchers across the country, as well as lenders and other input suppliers, talk about the need for maintaining this important risk management tool.”

According to Christy, committee leaders understand that crop insurance helps farmers manage risk and continue producing year in and year out for a growing world population.

“Crop insurance is also important to taxpayers,” Christy says. “It requires cost sharing with farmers and private sector insurance providers so that it is not fully funded by the government.”

“It’s a worthwhile investment for folks all across the country, and we believe that it’s an investment worth protecting in the farm bill,” she says.

How to help

Christy encourages those interested in protecting crop insurance and private sector delivery in the farm bill to call, email or visit their legislators.

“I served as congressional staff for many years and, when a policymaker hears directly from a voter about what’s important to him or her, it makes a difference,” she says.

Christy also encourages RCIS team members, as well as agents, to prioritize customer service.

“When policyholders get good service, they’re more likely to appreciate private sector involvement. They’re more likely to let their national organizations or their legislators know that private sector delivery of crop insurance is valued,” she says.

“We’ve got a team that goes above and beyond in servicing policyholders. And that really matters,” Christy adds. “Whether you are on the front lines or in the back room or in compliance or in technology, all of these efforts make a difference for the customer.”

A successful public-private partnership

Overall, Christy is optimistic about the farm bill, lawmaker awareness and the process of crafting and passing the legislation.

“By design, crop insurance is a great success,” she says. “I think Congress, over time, has been intentional about supporting crop insurance because it is a responsible risk management tool. It is widely supported by lenders, farm groups, agents, farm equipment dealers and input suppliers, and it’s a system that works well.”

“We’re proud to be a part of this successful public-private partnership and do our very best to serve farmers and ranchers every day. We hope that we can maintain crop insurance as we know it or even improve it, as we look ahead to the next farm bill,” Christy says.

Come grow with us

RCIS is committed to supporting agents through a complete package of tools in a variety of platforms, a complete suite of private products, highly responsive claims service and local, well-trained adjusters.

“When it comes to crop insurance integrity, excellence and success at RCIS, we’ve got this,” Christy says.

Agents interested in learning more about working with RCIS are encouraged to visit RCIS.com or call at 1-800-451-3836; press 1, enter 2519.

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