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“Harvest Reminders and Claims” by Matt Balfanz

Throughout the summer I continually heard the comment “can we just get this year over with?”  We had the worst spring in recent history, coupled with less than exciting commodity prices and a government who changed the rules on prevent plant on a weekly basis.  I agree, let’s be done with 2019.  However, we have to finish what we’ve started, good, bad, or indifferent.

  • First, we need to get appraisals set up for anyone who is chopping silage, harvesting high moisture corn, or bypassing flooded acres.
  • Appraisals are needed for a payable loss and are also necessary with no loss for building history and providing documentation for future audits.
  • The adjusters can appraise fields at various stages, but the appraisals tend to get much more accurate the closer to full maturity the plant is.
  • leave “check strips” in the chopped fields so the crop can continue to mature, and the adjuster can appraise closer to dry grain. If it is logistically impossible to deal with check strips, communicate that with your agent and adjuster right away.
  • Harvested production needs to be accounted for by unit. If you have “Optional Units” you need to keep track of production by section.  If you have “Enterprise Units” keeping track by section or farm is less important but still highly recommended.

Quality of the crop that’s out there is also a concern in some areas. 

  • Late planted corn is at risk of frost prior to fully maturing.
  • Crop Insurance adjusts all production back to 15% moisture and 56lb test weight.
  • Production is looked at on a “unit basis” so small areas of poor crop may be blended away with “good” crop but for producers with larger areas of later planted crop, there is a higher probability the crop will not make the guarantee.

The bulk of policies are “Revenue Based” meaning the guarantees are based on yield and price.

  • Guarantee prices for corn and soybeans are $4.00 and $9.54.
  • Guaranteed bushels are valued at these prices to arrive at a revenue guarantee per acre.
  • We track the price again in October and use those prices to value the harvested crop.
  • If prices are higher, you will be paid the higher price on bushels short of your guarantee.
  • If the price is lower, you will need more bushels than your initial guarantee to reach your overall revenue guarantee. For this reason, contact your agent as we get into harvest and we have an idea where the harvest price is going so we can identify potential claims.

In my experience, most of the issues we run into with claims could be headed off with early communication between the farmer and agent or adjuster.  If you ever question something or are in doubt of how the policy works, please reach out to your agent.  We would all rather answer 100 questions than jeopardize a claim because of a misunderstanding.

Best of luck as we head into the fields and stay safe!