Crop insurance is purchased by agricultural producers, including farmers, ranchers, and others to protect themselves against either the loss of their crops due to natural disasters, such as hail, drought, and floods, or the loss of revenue due to declines in the prices of agricultural commodities. The two general categories of crop insurance are called crop-yield insurance and crop-revenue insurance.
- Crop-yield insurance: There are two main classes of crop-yield insurance:
- Crop-hail insurance is generally available from private insurers (in countries with private sectors) because hail is a narrow peril that occurs in a limited place and its accumulated losses tend not to overwhelm the capital reserves of private insurers. In early 1820s, crop-hail insurance were available to farmers in France and Germany. That is among the earliest forms of hail insurance from an actuarial perspective. It is possible to implement the hail risk into financial instruments since the risk is isolated.
- Multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI): Coverage in this type of insurance is not limited to just one risk. Usually multi-peril crop insurance offers hail, excessive rain and drought in a combined package. Sometimes, additional risks such as insect or bacteria-related diseases are also offered. The problem with the multi-peril crop insurance is the possibility of a large scale event. Such an event can cause significant losses beyond the insurer's financial capacity. To make this class of insurance, the perils are often bundled together in a single policy, called a multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI) policy. MPCI coverage is usually offered by a government insurer and premiums are usually partially subsidized by the government. U.S. Department of Agriculture is known to implement the earliest Multi Peril Crop Insurance program in 1938. Federal Crop Insurance Corporation managed this multi-peril insurance program since then. The Risk Management Agency (RMA) is active in calculating the premiums based on individual risk factors since 1996.
- Crop-revenue insurance: Crop-yield times the crop price gives the crop-revenues. Based on farmer's revenues, crop-revenue insurance is based on deviation from the mean revenue. RMA uses the futures prices on harvest-times listed in the commodity exchange markets, to determined the prices. Combining the future price with farmer's average production gives the estimated revenue of the farmer. Accessing the futures market offers enables revenue protection even before the crop planted. There is a single guarantee for a certain number of dollars. The policy pays an indemnity if the combination of the actual yield and the cash settlement price in the futures market is less than the guarantee. In the United States, the program is called Crop Revenue Coverage. Crop-revenue insurance covers the decline in price that occurs during the crop's growing season. It does not cover declines that may occur from one growing season to another.
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