With the vast majority of the U.S. corn, cotton, soybean and sorghum crops yet to be harvested, crop insurance companies have already paid out nearly $2 billion in indemnities to farmers who have suffered losses this year.
“America’s heartland has taken a beating from Mother Nature and the crop insurance industry is committed to servicing the nation's farmers and getting indemnity payments into the hands of policyholders as quickly as possible,” said Tom Zacharias, president of National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS). Zacharias noted that the industry’s 5,000 claims adjusters are working day and night to expedite claims for farmers who have suffered from this year's drought.
A new NCIS video (below or on YouTube here) offers unique insight into the direct impact of the drought, featuring testimonials from farmers and crop insurance agents who discuss the heartbreaking destruction and losses they have witnessed this year. “Going out in the fields this year is a thoroughly depressing experience,” said David Andris, a farmer from Milford, Ill. Andris described the disappointment of spending significant time and resources to get a crop into the ground and manage it over the growing season only to see if fail. “It’s like digging a hole and then filling it in,” he said.
Illinois crop insurance agent Todd Harris explained that most of the farmers in his area have never had a claim. He said that while a crop insurance indemnity offers some peace of mind, it never compares to the financial benefit of a good harvest. “These folks take a substantial hit when they have to turn in a claim,” he said. “We have heard from farmers who live in parts of the country where losses tend to be more common, and farmers who live where losses rarely occur,” said Zacharias. “What they all have in common is that crop insurance gives them peace of mind to cope with the drought, but also gives them the guarantee for a chance to farm again next year."