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Hail Damage Seen Below Average

Manitoba’s farms saw “relatively light” hail damage during the 2009 growing season, with a near-average number of claims but total hail insurance payouts “well below average.”

The Canadian Crop Hail Association, a Prairie hail insurers’ group, last week pegged Manitoba’s total hail insurance payouts for the 2009 season at just $12.2 million, spread over 2,650 claims.

“Producer premiums in Mani toba total led $42.6 million, for a loss ratio of less than 29 per cent,” the group said in its final report of the season Friday. The province’s insurers recorded a 35 per cent loss ratio, also considered “favourable,” in 2008.

Prairie-wide, payouts to farmers for 2009 crop hail claims totalled just over $76 million, well down from a record $341 million paid out in 2008.

Nearly $264 million was collected from farmers in premiums for the 2009 season, the association said, for an industry-wide loss ratio of about 29 per cent. Prairie-wide payouts had exceeded premiums collected in 2008, for a loss ratio of 118 per cent.

Saskatchewan in 2009 recorded a “modern-times record low” in hail insurance payouts, just $23.4 million, down from the record high of $228 million in 2008. Where the 2008 loss ratio came in at 129 per cent, the 2009 ratio is “an incredibly low” 13.6 per cent, the group said.

In all, Saskatchewan farmers filed 4,075 hail claims in 2009, down from about 21,000 in 2008.

Alberta had seen “historically low” hail claims in 2009 up until a severe storm on the August long weekend, responsible for most of that province’s 2009 payouts, the association said. Farmers filed 2,032 claims, with payouts totalling $40.6 million – both numbers below half of what was seen in 2008.

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