Manitoba forecasts higher AgriInsurance premiums in 2012

Thanks to the past two years’ payouts, farmers in Manitoba can expect to see an average increase of five per cent in premium rates for AgriInsurance in 2012.

Crop values under the federally/provincially-funded program are up 8.7 per cent, on average, compared to 2011 levels, requiring an additional $170 million in expected insured coverage, the province said in a release Tuesday.

AgriInsurance has paid out “well over $500 million” in indemnities over the past two years, the province said, noting its own share of premiums in 2012-13 is expected to reach $58.86 million, up $8.5 million from 2011-12.

Provincial Ag Minister Ron Kostyshyn on Tuesday also announced an additional excess moisture insurance (EMI) top-up option for 2012, of $15 per acre.

The top-up would provide coverage of up to $80 per acre for land that’s too wet to seed by June 20 this year. On top of basic EMI coverage of $50 per acre, producers can thus choose the $65 or $80 per acre options.

The added EMI benefit is to be funded through a deferral of the increase to wildlife damage compensation — which will remain at 90 per cent this year, the province said.

Manitoba farmers will also only be able to buy their EMI deductible down to five per cent, rather than zero as in previous years, Kostyshyn noted.

The province said it made that change following the federal government’s recent declaration that all such insurance programs now must have a deductible.

Among other AgriInsurance program changes, forage establishment insurance will increase for 2012 to $70 per acre, up from $60. The forage restoration benefit, meant to compensate for damage to forage crops from excess moisture, will also rise to $70 per acre from $60.

“Farmers have been experiencing some major challenges, whether it’s the unprecedented spring flood of 2011 or near-drought conditions,” Kosytyshyn said Tuesday, speaking at the annual Ag Days conference and trade show in Brandon.

“The adjustments we’re making keep the insurance program in balance with the realities of production in today’s environment and support farmers and their families.”

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