As many states start to reopen, we are approaching a very busy time in crop insurance. Most producers planting spring crops need to report their acres to their crop insurance agent by July 15th, 2020. This is one of the most important documents you will be completing, as this sets the coverage's you have in place for your crops and the liability a company has on your policy. We want to make sure it is correct.
COVID-19 has created “social distancing” as a common phrase in 2020. With the customer’s and agent’s safety in mind, insurance companies have created new ways for this data to be processed. Some of these methods have been available before and some are new for this year. You will need to contact your insurance agent to see what your company has available for you this year.
Some companies have provided a “grower app” (phone or portable device), which allows you to view an aerial map of your fields to report acres. You can select your fields, choose the planted crop and plant date for that field. Once all your fields are completed, you need to notify your agent for review. This allows your agent to take a quick look and provide you with their experience and knowledge to maximize your policy coverage's. Once reviewed, a final copy can be returned for your signature.
Companies have also created a “grower portal” within their software for producers to report acres. Here, farmers can create an account using a mapped-based system, which lets you select fields and assign a planted crop and plant dates. Again, once you’ve done the input your agent needs to be notified to review and can provide valuable input prior to finalizing your acreage report.
We still have paper and pen available. In this case, your agent can mail you your maps, allowing you to write on them indicating the planted crops and plant dates for each field. Once complete, you can sign and mail them back to your agent. In some cases, your agent can key the information into the system and send you an electronic notification to review and sign.
One thing to keep in mind is we need your signature. Many of you have experienced new technologies such as DocuSign, Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and other online meeting types of software. These are all ways you can stay in contact with your agent and allow for social distancing. This year, I expect many digital signatures in the crop insurance industry.
There are plenty of options available and these are only a few new ways to help complete your acreage report. Please contact your agent in the near future to see what method may work for you.
We wish you a safe and successful growing season.