Federal officials are working to help producers affected by drought conditions by providing more flexibility in crop insurance. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorizes emergency procedures to allow farmers and ranchers to better access insurance benefits. USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) will work with insurance companies to expedite the loss adjustment process. RMA is also working to get insurance companies to pay out claims to policyholders at a faster rate.
“Crop insurance helps producers cope with natural disasters like drought,” Acting RMA administrator Richard Flournoy said in a press release. “We recognize the distress experienced by farmers and ranchers due to the drought, and these emergency procedures will allow insurance companies to speed up the claims process, allowing them to plant a new crop or cover crop. “
The emergency procedures adopted by the USDA can provide multiple flexibilities in crop insurance for farmers and ranchers. In some cases, insurance companies will allow the submission of delayed claims notices. The whole process is streamlined and the number of representative samples required is reduced when damage is constant. Farmers and breeders should contact their insurer as soon as damage is noticed. Insurance companies will still have the option of inspecting the crop before the area is moved to another use. The failure of a farmer and an insurance company to agree on an assessment can result in a representative sample area remaining intact for a future assessment.
Emergency procedures are part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to provide better assistance to producers struggling with the effects of drought. The flexibilities foreseen for crop insurance aim to alleviate some of the burdens on producers and insurance companies. Information on the increased flexibilities provided by emergency procedures is available on the RMA’s Crop Insurance and Drought-Damaged Crops webpage.