With the crop insurance sales and renewal season in full swing, it is more important than ever to choose the right agent. Do you consider your crop insurance agent a trusted partner? During a time of low prices and tight margins, having a crop insurance agent who you can trust to bring you tools and protection that will best meet the needs of your operation is vital. Do you know what traits to look for when seeking out the correct crop insurance partner for your operation?
Integrity – When deciding on a crop insurance policy, there is an enormous amount of information shared back and forth. You need an advisor you can trust. By choosing a crop insurance agent with a high level of integrity, you can be assured they operate with complete honesty. You can trust their knowledge of the products they are pairing you with. If your agent doesn’t possess these traits, you run the risk of those decisions affecting insurance coverage or participation in the Federal Crop Insurance program.
Commitment – Additionally, an important attribute of your agent is having a long term commitment to crop insurance. Every year there are changes within the crop insurance industry. It is important for your agent to have a solid knowledge base of crop insurance and the agriculture business. If your agent isn’t dedicated to being a long-term player, you are missing out on having an advisor committed to your long-term success. With all of the policy changes which occur annually, crop insurance is difficult enough; you should seek out an agent that is committed to be your crop insurance partner for years to come.
Knowledge – An additional benefit of having a long-term crop insurance agent is their knowledge of your operation. By gaining personal knowledge of your operation, your agent will be best situated to offer you the best products and solutions to help you succeed.
Having an agent who is willing to visit with you and review all coverage options will help you understand the products you have in place, and will help reassure you that you have chosen the right partner. As we all know, margins in agriculture are tight and that shallow losses can impact working capital and balance sheets. Your agent needs to know your situation and work with you to create a well-balanced approach between MPCI coverage and other named peril products.
If your agent knows your operation, they will bring the knowledge of how additional products can enhance your risk management needs or protect shallow loss concerns.
Resources – As I mentioned earlier, crop insurance is a complex business. As you look for an agent, one aspect which should be considered is the team your agent works with. Strength in numbers is an important factor. Does my agent have sufficient back-up for those “what if’s?” – or for training purposes? Product knowledge is increased when you have other resources to rely on as an agent. This added knowledge provides you with current and relative information when providing a solid risk management plan for the operation.
Choosing the right agent for your operation matters. You should seek out someone with high integrity, valuable resources, long-term commitment and knowledge of the industry. Look for an agent willing to customize a risk management plan to fit your needs, because not all operations are created equal.
Crop insurance is not just a cost of doing business; it should be viewed a vital piece of your risk management plan to help safeguard your operation. Don’t face that task alone, work with a trusted crop insurance partner who will pair you with the best products for your operation.
This article was written by Tom Timko, state insurance product officer at Compeer Financial. For more insights from Timko and the rest of the Compeer Crop insurance team, visit Compeer.com.