What Happens When There is a Loss?

You’re a farmer and your worst nightmare has just come true.

After investing time, energy, and money into growing a crop, a tornado has destroyed your harvest. Or a drought sapped all the moisture from your fields. Or flooding meant you never had the opportunity to plant in the first place.

There are a million and one things that can go wrong on a farm. But what happens after a disaster?

When disaster strikes, a farmer who holds a crop insurance policy starts by contacting their crop insurance agent. The agent then submits a claim, or notice of loss, with the Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) who holds the policy. There are 14 private-sector AIPs authorized to sell and service Federally regulated crop insurance in the United States.

The AIP then sends a trained and licensed crop insurance claims adjuster to verify the loss. These skilled adjusters quickly and accurately assess damages and calculate losses based on that individual farmer’s actual loss, not the severity of the overall disaster event. Delivering aid based on actual losses protects farmers, ranchers, and taxpayers alike.

Once the claim is finalized – usually in just days or weeks, thanks to private-sector efficiency – the farmer receives an indemnity check. But this isn’t a windfall payment that will make the farmer whole. It enables them to keep on farming, and plant again the following year.

One of the key components of this entire process is that it is data-driven. Crop insurance claims adjusters determine losses based on a farmer’s actual production history. Crop adjusters also use industry-wide standardized loss procedures, which are based on 100 years of ongoing scientific research. Since 1923, National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) has funded this agronomic research at land-grant universities. In 2022 alone, NCIS funded 12 research projects in 11 states.

In addition, America’s crop insurers have made program integrity a top priority. Crop insurers have invested millions in data collection, education and training, and new research and technology to better serve America’s farmers.

And service is really at the heart of crop insurance.

Disasters can strike at any time and climate volatility threatens America’s farmers. That is why Congress must maintain a strong crop insurance program.