Improvements to crop insurance continue in 2018
Changes to the Federal crop insurance program initiated in 2017 will continue into 2018. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) continues to improve the program, increasing its availability and effectiveness as a risk management tool while safeguarding the integrity of the program.
In 2017, RMA had a number of accomplishments in the areas of program integrity, program efficiency, expanded options, and customer service. These accomplishments include the way RMA executes program maintenance as well as develops new pilot programs and makes policy changes based on feedback from stakeholders.
Program integrity – RMA has worked diligently since 2014 to reduce its improper payment rate. For Fiscal Year 2017, the improper payment rate for the Federal crop insurance program was 1.96 percent, surpassing the target error rate of 2.01 percent. As a result, RMA received the Office of Management and Budget’s approval for removal from the improper payment “high-priority” program list.
Program efficiency – RMA revised the conservation compliance provisions of the crop insurance policies to remove the certification deadline of June 1. This revision allows producers, agents, and insurance companies more time to comply with the conservation requirements established in the previous Farm Bill.
Expanded options – RMA will allow a producer the flexibility to select an enterprise unit for a single practice (i.e. irrigated or non-irrigated) and choose the most appropriate unit structure on the other practice. Previously, producers had to select enterprise units on both practices or neither. This revision allows producers to insure irrigated and non-irrigated land differently, which more accurately reflects the risks associated with these different growing practices.
Customer service – RMA worked with Approved Insurance Providers, agents, and stakeholder groups to respond to Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, as well as other disasters throughout the year. Specifically, emergency procedures were issued to help streamline the claims process and respond to specific issues.