Kicking off the new year – traditionally a busy time for crop insurers and agents who are gearing up for the 2018 sales season – Zurich Crop proudly demonstrated Zurich’s leadership at two crop insurance industry events – Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB) annual meeting and the National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) annual convention in Scottsdale, AZ, January 31 – February 7.
Both industry events bring together private crop insurance providers, industry experts and government officials to discuss the current state of the agriculture industry and crop insurance market.
2017 Historic Year for Crop Insurance
In his opening remarks, Alternative Markets’ Head of Crop and NCIS Chairman Mike Day, shared 2017 was a historic year for crop insurance with more than 311 million acres enrolled in the system, covering more than 130 crops. For perspective, that’s an area roughly the size of California, Texas and New York combined.
Day also told the group that insurers backed more than $106 billion worth of crops in 2017, up $6 billion since 2016. And farmers paid more than $3.7 billion out of their own pockets for insurance protection – $300 million more than the year before.
2017 was also a year marked by disasters, ranging from hurricanes to wildfires, droughts and freezes.
“For those farmers who bought meaningful crop insurance coverage, the system worked very well,” said Day. “It’s clear to see that crop insurance has become a critical risk management tool for farmers.”
Preserving Crop Insurance and the 2018 Farm Bill
At the heart of this year’s discussions is the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which is set to expire September 30, 2018. The Farm Bill is a comprehensive, multi-year piece of legislation passed by the U.S. Congress that governs our federal farm policy, among many other things. Specifically, it can incorporate changes to the federal crop insurance program and how government and the private sector work together to support the people who grow and harvest our food.
Since the federal government has the power and ability to change crop insurance in a positive or negative way, Zurich leverages CIRB and NCIS events to work with industry leaders and key lawmakers to ensure crop insurance remains affordable and effective for farmers and viable for private sector insurance providers and agents to deliver.
According to Christy Seyfert, who leads crop insurance efforts through Zurich’s Government & Industry Affairs team, Zurich will continue to work directly with Congress, USDA, agricultural stakeholders, our agents, and trade associations to position crop insurance favorably as the 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization unfolds.
Federal crop insurance is the primary risk management tool that farmers have against weather and market volatility. It requires them to elect coverage levels in advance of planting, share in the cost of premium for coverage, and meet a deductible in the claims process. Crop insurance is valued by farmers, lenders, input suppliers, equipment dealers, and other stakeholders for the financial stability it provides to rural communities, taxpayers and consumers alike.
“It is going to take everyone working together to preserve the current legislative approach to crop insurance during the 2018 Farm Bill,” said Christy.