Crop insurance: why the system is “out of breath” – Economy

Why so few insured?

Currently, two additional systems apply: the agricultural calamity regime and the insurance regime. The public calamity regime, in force since the 1960s and co-financed by the State and the profession, can be triggered after a severe climatic episode. But it excludes certain parts of agriculture (viticulture and field crops) and its compensation periods are considered too slow.

“To benefit from the calamity, you have to justify 30% production losses and at least an equivalent loss of gross operating product, calculated on the whole farm: which is very complicated when you have several activities and cultures supported differently,” explains Joël Limouzin, in charge of emergencies at the FNSEA.

As for the insurance system, private but 65% subsidized by the State, it is still little subscribed by farmers. It is considered “too expensive” in view of the potential coverage of losses, which is considered too low. “The insurance taken out by a winegrower in Gascony, affected by hail this weekend, made it possible to guarantee 40 hectoliters per hectare, for a production estimated at 90 hectoliters / ha, it is very low”, explains Jérôme Despey, general secretary of the FNSEA.

What to expect from the reform?

“The harvest insurance law, operational in 2023, will allow more farmers to take out insurance to better cover their needs, with an additional 300 million euros of national solidarity per year”, doubling the budget, announced the minister. of Agriculture Marc Fesneau, at the bedside of Girondin and Gers winegrowers in recent days.

Faced with a system unanimously considered to be “out of breath”, Parliament adopted a final reform of crop insurance in February, which will come into force on January 1, 2023. This text replaces the two current systems, and creates “a universal compensation scheme” with three levels: a first level of relief for the farmer, who will bear the losses alone up to a deductible threshold (set at 20%); a second level comes under the private insurer (up to 50%, with support for a large part of the subscriptions via aid from the Common Agricultural Policy), and a third level, which mobilizes national solidarity, with public funds to respond to disaster situations.

A one-stop shop has been created to simplify procedures. And the text provides for the creation of a pool of insurers. Adhering to it would be compulsory for insurers in the sector, thus allowing data sharing and pooling of risks, in order to establish the fairest possible insurance premium.

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