Federal officials are working to assist producers affected by drought conditions by providing greater crop insurance flexibilities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is authorizing emergency procedures to allow farmers and ranchers to better access insurance benefits. USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) will be working with insurance companies to speed up the process for the adjustment of losses. RMA is also working to have insurance companies issue indemnity payments to policyholders at a quicker pace.
“Crop insurance helps producers weather natural disasters like drought,” RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy said in a news release. “We recognize the distress experienced by farmers and ranchers because of drought, and these emergency procedures will authorize insurance companies to expedite the claims process, enabling them to plant a new crop or a cover crop.”
Emergency procedures enacted by USDA can provide multiple crop insurance flexibilities for farmers and ranchers. In some instances, insurance companies will allow for the submission of delayed notices of loss. The entire process is streamlined, and the number of representative samples required is reduced when damage is consistent. Farmers and ranchers should get in contact with their insurance carrier the moment damage is observed. Insurance companies will still be afforded the chance to inspect the crop before acreage is dedicated to another use. Failure of a farmer and insurance company to agree on an appraisal can result in a representative sample area remaining intact for a future appraisal.
The emergency procedures are part of USDA’s ongoing effort to provide better assistance to producers struggling with drought impacts. The flexibilities provided for crop insurance are aimed at relieving some of the burdens on producers and insurance carriers. Information about the increased flexibilities provided by the emergency procedures is available on RMA’s Crop Insurance and Drought Damaged Crop webpage.