Some farmers who have drowned acres are upset they aren’t also eligible for the hail coverage they purchased through the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation.
Crops where Manitoba farmers have claimed $30 an acre under the Canada-Manitoba Excess Moisture Assistance Program (CMEMAP) aren’t eligible for hail coverage through the Mani toba Agr icul tural Services Corporation (MASC).
The policy could cost some farmers thousands of dollars if they received heavy hail damage in the same fields for which they applied for CMEMAP payments. An acre written off due to hail can trigger a $150 payment – five times the $30 being paid to compensate farmers for crops destroyed by too much moisture this spring.
MASC’s hail contracts state only viable crops are eligible for compensation when damaged by hail and any acre that qualifies under CMEMAP had to have been destroyed, David Van Deynze, MASC’s manager of claims services, said in an interview Aug. 20.
“So how do you have an acre that is viable when you’re looking at a hail claim and not viable when you’re looking at an ad hoc program? It puts us in a difficult situation because we are in charge of administering both of those (programs) and we can’t in good conscience go to a field and look at acres one way after one program and a different way for a different program,” he said.
MASC has some flexibility, Van Deynze said. Where a CMEMAP payment has been applied for on 10 acres or less, MASC will make a hail payment on those 10 or fewer acres. But where 11 acres or more is in the CMEMAP program none of those acres will be eligible for a hail payment.
That’s consistent with MASC’s ongoing policy, Van Deynze said. Normally MASC adjusters ignore small acreages of fields destroyed by other causes than hail when assessing a hail claim, he said.
At best, calculating the acres lost due to excess moisture was an educated guess, according to one farmer who had hail and applied for CMEMAP compensation. The farmer, who asked not to be named, said had farmers known MASC’s policy they would have opted to claim more acres were lost to hail than excess moisture.
“You’re paying a premium on something (hail coverage) you possibly couldn’t collect on,” Keystone Agr icultural Producers president Ian Wishart said in an interview.
At the very least farmers should get their premium back on those acres.
MASC pro-rates hail insurance premium refunds when insurance is cancelled, Van Deynze said. Those who cancel by June 29 get a full repayment. By July 30, there is no rebate.
KAP is lobbying MASC and Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers to pay hail claims on acres included in CMEMAP, Wishart said. “We’re hoping they will reverse their position,” he said.
“I guess they (MASC) have the legal right but I’m not sure they’re on too solid of moral ground.”
MASC’s hail insurance coverage is fully commercial and operates without government subsidy. Wishart said MASC’s policy could hurt its future hail business.
MASC considered that, Van Deynze said, but added other insured farmers probably wouldn’t support paying hail claims on crops that were already destroyed.
“At the end of the day we’re asked to see producers’ money is spent properly for the $30 (excess moisture) and hail program,” he said. [email protected]
“Sohowdoyou haveanacrethatis viablewhenyou’re lookingatahailclaim andnotviablewhen you’relookingatan adhocprogram?”
– DAVID VAN DEYNZE