There are several things you need to know about how the crop insurance claims process works before you file a claim based on this year’s crop. First, contact your agent as soon as possible, and keep careful records on everything you do with this crop. Beyond that, there are some specifics which might be useful to helping you establish your claim without tripping yourself up and delaying the process.
Mike Sweeney, based in Assumption, Ill., with Diversified Services, a crop insurance company, lays out basic steps that might help you get started on the claims process.
First, pull out your cop insurance policy and your form 578 from the Farm Service Agency. Make sure the acres match. If they don’t, the insurance adjustors will sort it out, but it may mean your claim goes to the bottom of the pile. The company expects to handle a lot of claims, and wants to process as many as possible as quickly as possible. Claims which require extra effort probably won't be addressed first.
Second, if you expect you will have a claim of $200,000 or more in either corn or soybeans (separately) on one unit in one county, RMA requires a 3-year audit before you can be paid on this year’s claim. The audit would cover production in 2009, 2010, and 2011. If you think this may apply, Danny Greene of Greene Consulting, Franklin, recommends contacting your agent now so they can begin the process.
Third, you will need settlement sheets, not just weigh tickets, for that audit. Neither tickets from weights on an on-farm scales or from an elevator will work, Sweeney says. You need the settlement sheet because RMA rules may calculate bushels based on moisture content and other variables different than your elevator does. For crop insurance purposes, RMA rules take precedence.
Fourth, if you’ve got old grain in a bin and you’re going to put new grain on top of it, contact your insurance agent first. An adjustor must measure the old corn in the bin before you add any more grain on top. Otherwise, RMA rules force them to consider all grain in the bin as new production, and credit those bushels as being produced this year.