There are two types of crop insurance available for farmers to purchase in the United States. Crop-hail policies, which can be purchased at any time in the growing season and protect crops from the risk of hail, are provided by private insurers and not part of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. These policies are particularly popular among farmers in hail-prone areas because of hail’s unusual ability to inflict a severe amount of damage on a concentrated planted area.
Multi-Peril Crop Insurance policies, which must be purchased before the growing season, cover the loss of crops due to a variety of causes including drought, freezing conditions, and disease. MPCI policies are administered by 15 private insurers licensed to write policies by the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency. The insurers handle customer service and product delivery, performing functions like writing and reinsuring policies, marketing, adjusting, processing claims, training, and recordkeeping, but the program is overseen and regulated by the RMA. The RMA sets the rates that can be charged and determines which crops can be insured in various parts of the country.
As part of their participation in the federal crop insurance program, insurers are obligated to sell insurance to every eligible farmer who requests it while retaining a large portion of the risk on more than 80 percent of policies written. Through the FCIC, the federal government also subsidizes the farmer-paid premiums to reduce the cost to farmers and reimburses participating companies to offset operating and administrative costs that would otherwise be the responsibility of farmers.
In recent years, there have been cuts to, and discussions centered on, further cuts to the program. These cuts, if enacted, would endanger the country’s food supply because they would be ultimately passed on to farmers, the vast majority of whom rely on affordable crop insurance.
Crop insurance plays a vital role in safeguarding the nation’s farmers and America’s food supply. NAMIC opposes making cuts to the federal crop insurance program and will work with lawmakers to ensure they are aware of the program’s importance.