Advice offered to farmers for crop claims
Crop insurance is a vital risk management tool, but it has its challenges. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency runs the federal crop insurance program, and the insurance companies that RMA has designated to sell and administer policies under the program are known as Approved Insurance Providers, or AIPs.
The program is a federally subsidized economic safety net for farmers, so its appointed mission is to pay farmers when disaster occurs, according to attorney M. Bradford Sanders, with Sanders and Associates, LPA., Mason, Ohio AIPs have an obligation to pay valid claims. The program authorizes AIPs to pay each claim only to the extent that the insured farmer has complied with the rules that RMA has published for the program. If the insured farmer has failed to comply, claim time can be an unhappy experience.
Farmers may also find each policy, along with the corresponding underwriting and loss adjustment procedures, on RMA’s website at www.rma.usda.gov.
RMA conducts audits of AIPs’ policy files to ensure that farmers and AIPs are complying with mandatory recordkeeping procedures.
When crop damage occurs, it is important for a farmer to communicate with the loss adjuster assigned to the claim. Once a farmer has given notice of a potential or actual loss, he must deal directly with the adjuster and AIP about the claim. RMA prohibits insurance agents from participating directly in the claims process. Communicate with the loss adjuster throughout the claims process to ensure that your claim is processed quickly and accurately.
Claim disputes often arise when a farmer, after sustaining a probable loss, destroys the crop, sells it for less than its value, or otherwise disposes of it before obtaining written consent from the AIP or before the adjuster has appraised it. If the adjuster has not had an opportunity to fully inspect the crop, the AIP may not be able to pay the claim.
By understanding your policy terms, meeting deadlines, keeping timely, accurate records, and communicating with your AIP, you can increase the likelihood that your coverage is secure and that your claim will be adjusted quickly, in a hassle-free manner, and with a positive outcome, Sanders said. For more information, call 515-229-8080 or visit www.sanderslpa.com.