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PIA Crop Agents Prepare for a Long Battle

PIA’s crop insurance agents are outfitted for a long battle
April 3, 2012

PIA’s crop insurance agents are outfitted for a long battle. Crop agents have been taking a beating. The federal government is imposing caps on what private sector insurers can pay their agents. In addition, President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal contains an additional $8 billion in cuts to the crop insurance program, on top of $6 billion in cuts over 10 years contained in a contract with underwriters that went into effect last year. Meanwhile, a proposal from U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R) would cut $30 billion from national farm and crop insurance subsidies over 10 years. Hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill are underway with more scheduled for later this spring. Currently there appears to be only a slim chance of a Farm Bill passing this fall.

“It sometimes is daunting with the feeling everybody is after my job or my income,” says former PIA National Director Larry McGillis. “We need help—from our company partners, our farmer clients, and our agency system. We need your PAC money, memberships, phone calls, emails and legislative efforts if we intend to survive.”

Dan Weber, chairman of the PIA National Crop Insurance Working Group, led a delegation of group members to meet with Risk Management Agency Director Bill Murphy during the PIA Federal Legislative Summit. The group also met with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.).

What It Means to Agents: Crop insurance issues are important to all independent insurance agents – even if the closest they come to crops is when they eat them at the dinner table every night. The underlying issue is the federal government dictating (and attempting to dictate) agent compensation to the private sector insurance industry. This isn’t unique to crop insurance, as health insurance agents can attest. We need to speak up, or we’ll be asking, “Who’s next?”

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