Drought in the Great Plains, floods from the Mississippi River and freezing weather in the South pushed payments last year by companies including Wells Fargo & Co. and Ace Ltd. to $10.08 billion, with 5 percent of claims still outstanding, National Crop Insurance Services, based in Overland Park, Kansas, said today in a statement.
“The ability of U.S. agriculture to sustain more than $10 billion in insured losses and seamlessly finance itself for the 2012 crop season should not be taken for granted,” Tom Zacharias, the group’s president, said in the statement. The payouts show the federally subsidized insurance program, the target of cuts in President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, is working, he said.
The previous record crop-insurance payout was $8.67 billion in 2008.
By Alan Bjerga