Big “I” Crop Insurance Task Force Chairman Brian McSherry delivered a presentation to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation board Tuesday on the importance of including agents during the next Standard Reinsurance Agreement negotiation process.
This meeting was particularly notable because it was the first time the FCIC board chose to meet with a trade organization.
The FCIC board consists of three Risk Management Agency employees, including Brandon Willis, RMA administrator. Four farmers, one insurance expert and one reinsurance expert also sit on the board.
The goal of the corporation is to “take actions necessary to improve the actuarial soundness of the federal crop program” and apply the system to all insured producers in a fair and consistent manner, according to the RMA.
McSherry gave the FCIC board background on the role the Big “I” plays in advocating for crop insurance agents and highlighted the harmful effects of the commission caps from the 2011 SRA on agents across the country.
McSherry stressed that, while agents are not legal participants in this negotiation, they play an integral role in the sales, servicing and overall success of the crop program, and their voice should be heard during the next negotiations.
During his presentation, McSherry noted many of the unintended consequences from the 2011 SRA could have been avoided, if agents were given the opportunity to take part in conversations relating to the new commission structure and regulations. The SRA is renegotiated every five years.
Both the RMA and the crop company Approved Insurance Providers have acknowledged to the Big “I” that agents are an invaluable resource to the FCIP. Agents have worked hard to improve the crop program through the adoption of antirebating language drafted by the Big “I.” The language was included in the 2013 Crop Insurance Standards Handbook.
The Big “I” and the Crop Insurance Task Force will continue working to make headway during the next round of SRA negotiations and will use every opportunity available to voice agent concerns and engage in the process.
Jen McPhillips is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs.