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Evaluating Your Crop Insurance Partner

Date: 
Author: 
Compeer Financial
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Articles
Interests: 
Grain, Young, Beginning Farmers
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With the 2018 crop insurance sales and renewal season in full swing, it is more important than ever to choose the right crop insurance partner. How would you answer the question, do you consider your crop insurance agent to be a trusted partner? During a time of low prices and tight margins, having a crop insurance partner who you can trust to bring you tools and protection that will best meet the needs of your operation is vital. Do you know what traits to look for when seeking out the correct crop insurance partner for your operation?

Integrity
When deciding on a crop insurance policy, there is an enormous amount of information that is shared back and forth. You need an advisor that you can trust. By choosing a partner with a high level of integrity, you can be assured that they operate with complete honesty and that you can trust their knowledge of the products they are pairing you with. If your agent doesn’t possess these traits, you run the risk of those decisions affecting insurance coverage or participation in the Federal Crop Insurance program.

Commitment
Additionally, an important attribute of your agent is having a long term commitment to crop insurance. Every year there are changes within the crop insurance industry. It is important for your agent to have a solid knowledge base of crop insurance and the agriculture business. If your agent isn’t dedicated to being a long term player then you're missing out on having an advisor committed to your long term success. With all of the policy changes that occur annually, Crop Insurance is difficult enough; you should seek out an agent that is committed to be your crop insurance partner for years to come. 

Knowledge
An additional benefit of having a long-term crop insurance agent is their knowledge of your operation. By gaining personal knowledge of your operation, your agent will be best situated to offer you the best crop insurance products and solutions to help you succeed.

Having an agent who is willing to visit with you and review all coverage options will help you understand the products you have in place, and will help reassure you that you have chosen the right partner. As we all know, margins in agriculture are tight and shallow losses can impact working capital and balance sheets. Your agent needs to know your situation and work with you to create a well-balanced approach between MPCI coverage and other named period products.

If your agent knows your operation, they will bring the knowledge of how additional products can enhance your risk management needs or protect shallow loss concerns.

Resources
As we have mentioned in this article, crop insurance is a complex business. As you look for a partner, one aspect that should be considered is the team your agent has working with them to provide the best service. Strength in numbers is an important factor to look at. Does my agent have sufficient back up for those “what if’s” or for training purposes? Product knowledge is increased when you have other resources to rely on as an agent. Thus, this added knowledge relates to being able to provide current and relative information when providing a solid risk management plan for the operation.
 
Choosing the crop insurance partner for your operation matters. You should seek out someone with high integrity, valuable resources, long-term commitment and knowledge of the industry. Look for an agent willing to customize a risk management plan to fit your needs, because not all operations are created equal.

Crop Insurance is not just a cost of doing business; it should be viewed a vital piece of your risk management plan to help safeguard your operation. Don’t face that task alone, work with a trusted crop insurance partner who will pair you with the best products for your operation.

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This article was written by Kevin Christenson, with contributions from Thad Stauffer, Tim Timko and Greg Eaton. Kevin is a State Insurance Product Officer at Compeer Financial. For more insights from Kevin and the rest of the Compeer Crop insurance team visit Compeer.com
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