Publications: Disaster Assistance/Crop Insurance

A Practitioner’s Guide to the Litigation of Federally Reinsured Crop Insurance Claims

J. Grant Ballard, National Agricultural Law Center Research Consultant; Associate at Banks Law Firm, Little Rock, AR

Risk management is quickly moving in directions that will present a fresh set of challenges for today’s farmers and the attorneys who represent them. Farmers have increased their reliance on crop insurance as a tool in their risk management portfolio, and signals from federal policy makers indicate that crop insurance will become more important in terms of the federal safety net for agriculture.  This article focuses on procedural issues that arise when a farmer believes that his or her crop insurance claim has been unfairly denied, as well as basic background information on the structure of U.S. crop insurance.  It also outlines the process and particularities involved in the litigation and resolution of crop insurance disputes. Download this article.



Crop Insurance Arbitration:  What is Arbitration, When is it Required, and How Does it Work?

Grant Ballard Center Research Consultant National Agricultural Law Center

The basic provisions of the common crop insurance policy provide that arbitration is often the required course of action for a producer who feels that his crop insurance claim has been improperly denied.  While crop insurance is widely used by producers throughout the United States, many producers are not familiar with the arbitration requirement or the arbitration process.  This article provides an overview of the arbitration and the arbitration clause found within the common crop insurance policy with the hopes of providing clarity about the arbitration requirement as well as arbitration as a dispute resolution method.     Download this article. Posted October 9, 2012.



Prevented Planting Crop Insurance:  Overview, Drought, and Excessive Moisture

Grant Ballard Center Research Consultant   National Agricultural Law Center

It is widely understood that farming can be a risky business.  Agricultural producers often themselves at the mercy of the weather, and, in recent years, it seems that weather conditions have been increasingly extreme.  Both flood and drought have plagued producers across our country, and the presence of these weather events during planting season has led to increased interest in and confusion about prevented planting crop insurance provisions.  This article highlights some of the basic prevented planting provisions issues and summarizes a few issues relating to coverage under prevented planting crop insurance. Download this presentation.



The Federal Crop Insurance Program: Administration, Structure, and Operation

Grant Ballard Center Research Consultant, National Agricultural Law Center

Crop  insurance is a widely used risk management tool for American agricultural  producers.  Currently, over 100 different crops are insurable under the  federal crop insurance program.  In its most basic sense, crop insurance  can provide farmers with financial protection against natural losses to insured  crops.   Crop insurance quickly becomes more complex, however, as  different types of crop insurance policies often have distinct terms and  conditions.  Moreover, the structure of the federal crop insurance program  can be confusing as the program is administered by the federal government, yet  sold and serviced by approved private insurance companies.  In order for  producers and others to effectively recognize the current and emerging legal  issues associated with crop insurance, it is important that the unique nature  of the administration and structure of the crop insurance program be  understood. Download this presentation.



Filing a Crop  Insurance Claim: An Overview for Producers

Grant Ballard Associate Attorney   Banks Law Firm PLLC

Federal crop insurance is an  important risk management tool for farmers throughout the United States. Once a  loss occurs, farmers may have difficulty navigating the claims process,  especially given some of the complexities associated with crop insurance  policies.  The information set out below is provided to assist producers  in understanding basic components of the claims process once a loss occurs.  Download  this article. Posted April 19, 2012



FCIC’s Standard Reinsurance Agreement

Scott Fancher Attorney Harrison, Arkansas

Crop insurance is becoming increasingly popular with farmers as a risk management tool.  The Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 (ARPA) is evidence that it also enjoys broad support in Congress.  ARPA significantly expanded the scope of the crop insurance program and made participation more attractive and likely by substantially increasing the share of the premiums paid by the government.  It follows that there now exists an increased opportunity for disputes involving federal crop insurance.  Crop insurance can be confusing for anyone unfamiliar with its mechanics, owing to the federal governments’ involvement in its promotion and delivery.  That involvement imposes obligations on both the government and the private crop insurance providers.  Farmers and their attorneys can benefit from a fundamental understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders in our federal crop insurance system.   Download this article. Posted: July 24, 2002.



Scope of the Federal Crop Insurance Arbitration Clause

Scott Fancher Former AgLaw Center Graduate Fellow Practicing Attorney, Harrison, Arkansas

Federal crop insurance is presently sold and serviced exclusively by private insurance companies under reinsurance agreements with the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC).  FCIC programs are administered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency.  Common to every current FCIC reinsured policy is a provision requiring arbitration of disagreements between the private insurer and the policyholder.  This article examines the scope of the FCIC’s arbitration clause and its implications for disputes between policyholders and their reinsured private providers.  A separate appeals process applies to disputed FCIC determinations.   Download this article. Posted: Aug. 27, 2002.