Small crop insurance payout in 2017

As a result $150 million has been added to the program’s reserve fund

The final tally isn’t in but total Manitoba crop insurance payouts in 2017 are currently estimated at around $60 million.

That shouldn’t be a surprise given collectively farmers enjoyed above-average yields for many crops, even setting some new records.

The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) will release its 2017 yield data in Yield Manitoba, Feb. 15 as a supplement to the Manitoba Co-operator.

The information will also be available online.

“It was a quiet year for us,” David Van Deynze, MASC’s vice-president of insurance operations, said in an interview.

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As a result MASC was able to add $150 million to its reserve fund, bringing the total to about $585 million, he said.

Crop insurance, also known as AgriInsurance, is meant to be actuarially sound. While there’s a large surplus now, a major crop failure could easily wipe it out and more.

“When we add $150 million to our bank account (surplus) that’s the part that contributes to some lower premiums,” Van Deynze added.

Despite there being bumper crops across most of Manitoba in 2017, risk area 16 around The Pas was an exception. Wet soils saw only about 5,000 of a possible 50,000 acres get seeded.

And much of what was seeded turned out poorly.

While there were only 356 Excess Moisture Insurance (EMI) claims on 159,700 acres in 2017, most of them came from The Pas area.

Hail claims were down significantly too — just 1,860 resulting in $16 million in payouts, Van Deynze said.

As a result, MASC added $5.6 million to its hail reserve fund, which is separate from the general crop insurance reserve.

“Normally in a year we have something that doesn’t go well, like a reseed situation or an EMI situation, or a post-harvest situation,” he said. “In this particular year (2017) we really did not have any significant part of that. It was quite a good year overall. The yields were good. There wasn’t a lot of excess moisture.”

More than 8,400 Manitoba farms are enrolled in crop insurance, the Manitoba government said in a news release Jan. 16.

Manitoba has the highest level of crop insurance participation in Canada, covering more than 70 different crops on more than 90 per cent of the province’s annual crop acres.

Farmers can also insure forage yields and stand establishment.

Crop insurance premiums are shared 40 per cent by participating farmers and 36 and 24 per cent, by the federal and Manitoba governments, respectively

Administration costs are covered by the two governments — 60 per cent by Canada and 40 per cent by Manitoba.

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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