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During Hurricane Season, USDA Offers New and Improved Insurance Options

Clint Thompson USDA, Weather

By Martin R. Barbre, Administrator, Risk Management Agency, USDA

The 2020 hurricane season has begun, and many experts have predicted above-normal activity this year. USDA is ready to help you during this hurricane season.

USDA Helps Producers Recover From Disasters and Prepare for Future Ones

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USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently introduced a new crop insurance hurricane endorsement, Hurricane Insurance Protection – Wind Index (HIP-WI), which covers a portion of your underlying crop insurance policy’s deductible when your county is within or adjacent to the area of sustained hurricane-force winds. HIP-WI covers 70 different crops and is available in counties near the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic as well as Hawaii.

USDA has also helped producers recover from disasters in past years. The Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) helped those affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, including hurricanes Michael, Florence, and Dorian and other natural disasters.

RMA and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) have been working together on WHIP+ implementation through what is called the linkage requirement. The WHIP+ linkage requirement says that if you receive WHIP+ disaster assistance payments, you must purchase either crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage at the 60% or higher level for the next two consecutive crop years.

This WHIP+ linkage requirement has contributed to a 60% increase in crop value covered for citrus crops in Florida alone, where fruit production and trees are often in danger of hurricane damage. For the 2020 crop year, 87% of insured orange trees were covered by buy-up policies versus 18% in crop year 2018. Similarly, 92% of acreage insured under the orange fruit policy is covered by buy-up for the 2020 crop year versus 50% in 2018. This increased coverage is good news going into another hurricane season. It means greater peace-of-mind that your risk is diminished, and you don’t have to rely on ad-hoc disaster assistance.