August 02, 2012
Department of Insurance offers resources for farmers affected by drought
Guidance for handling crop insurance claims
Jefferson City, Mo. - As Missouri faces unprecedented drought conditions, the Missouri Department of Insurance is offering information about crop insurance claims to farmers affected by the hot and dry conditions.
Most crop insurance policies require claims to be filed within 72 hours of discovering damage. Farmers with crop damage should contact their crop insurance agent as soon as possible. They can also contact the federal Risk Management Agency at rma.usda.gov or 202-690-2803.
"With the drought having a significant impact on our state, filing a claim quickly is vital for Missouri farmers to begin the process of moving forward," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. "Even though crop insurance programs are administered by the federal government, your insurance agent can help you navigate the claims process."
Farmers should start by reviewing their insurance policy provisions and work with their insurance agents before destroying any damaged crops to plant a second crop or harvest corn for silage, if it had been insured as a grain crop.
The RMA says to report crop damage:
- Within 72 hours of discovery of damage;
- Fifteen days before harvest begins; and
- Within 15 days after harvesting is completed (by insurance unit) or the end of the insurance period.
Farmers should document their losses and not destroy any crops without clear direction from the insurance company, in writing if possible.
Crop insurance or multi-peril insurance protects farmers from losses due to natural disasters, such as drought. Coverage can be purchased through private insurance companies or agents. Separate policies are needed to protect livestock and dairy revenues.
Applications for crop insurance coverage must be submitted by deadlines that vary by crop. For example, the deadline for corn and soybeans in Missouri is March 15. It's also the last day farmers can choose not to renew their insurance policy for the upcoming year.
In addition, eligible farmers in all of Missouri's 114 counties have access to low-interest loans and other assistance due to disaster designations resulting from drought. For more information about emergency loans or other disaster assistance programs offered by the USDA Farm Service Agency, producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office. Additional drought information and resources are available at the Missouri Department of Agriculture's website.
Farmers and other consumers with complaints or general questions about insurance can contact the Missouri Department of Insurance at 800-726-7390 or insurance.mo.gov.