FMH Leaders Gain Industry Outlook From CIRB and NCIS

FMH leaders attended the virtual annual meetings for the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB) and National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) in early February. Held just a few days apart, these two events brought together industry experts and political special guests to speak about issues the industry is facing this year.

“There seemed to be two main items discussed at the events,” said Curtis Swain, FMH Vice President - General Counsel. “The first was the increase in commodity prices and what that means for both growers and the crop insurance industry. Increased grain exports and increased trade with China have helped bolster commodity futures, but there is still a lot of uncertainty with respect to the international supply of grain and future trade with China.” 

He added, “The second prominent topic was the change in administration and what that means at the USDA. With President Biden in the White House and Secretary Vilsack back at the USDA, we are hearing a lot about climate change and how climate change initiatives present both opportunities and risks to the crop insurance industry. It will be interesting to see what develops as the ag sector is increasingly engaged in helping reduce carbon emissions.”

Swain explained how both CIRB and NCIS are trade organizations with a common goal of supporting crop insurers, reinsurance brokers, and reinsurers.

“Both CIRB and NCIS are crucial partners, and they help FMH in different ways,” he said. “CIRB focuses its efforts on congressional advocacy, education and making sure the crop insurance industry is represented in D.C. CIRB also assists the crop insurance industry in negotiations regarding the Standard Reinsurance Agreement and the Farm Bill.

NCIS focuses its efforts on crop research, data analytics and assisting the industry in keeping up to date on policy/underwriting matters and private product considerations. Swain explained how NCIS also provides FMH and other member companies with tools and information needed to help price insurance products and adjust claims. 

While these events help FMH gain a high-level view of the industry for its business and business partners, they also bring valuable connections for attendees.

Curtis Swain

It is important that FMH be aware of economic outlooks for the ag sector, developments in Congressional elections, happenings in the Senate and House Ag Committees, and future plans from the USDA and RMA. Just as important is the ability for FMH leadership to network and interact face to face with other attendees.  It is an opportunity for FMH leadership to sell and promote the FMH brand with our reinsurance and business partners. - Curtis Swain, FMH Vice President - General Counsel

The online format was difficult to network within this year, but Swain noted how he looks forward to being able to interact in person with industry colleagues, government officials, and FMH’s business partners next year.

“FMH is proud of the professional relationships and partnerships we have worked hard to establish, especially with our reinsurers, and it is really nice to be able to sit down and talk face-to-face with an individual or group of people,” he said.