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Province recommending Okanagan growers buy hail insurance

The B.C. government is recommending Okanagan tree fruit growers include insurance for hail damage in their 2014 risk management plans, and take advantage of the fact that B.C. premiums are the lowest in Canada.

Hail insurance offered jointly by British Columbia and Canada is a cost-effective way for farm families to ensure that weather risks such as hail can be managed and farm businesses can be sustained.

Spring and summer hail storms occur regularly in the Okanagan, but the exact timing and potential areas impacted are unpredictable. To help mitigate their risk, all commercial tree fruit growers can buy hail insurance with the option of increasing their coverage throughout the year. Like any insurance policy, coverage cannot be purchased or adjusted retroactively.

The governments of B.C. and Canada subsidize the premium of each hail insurance policy in the province.

A policy with 80 per cent coverage for an apple crop worth $100,000 would result in $7,200 in producer premiums, according to Victoria, with the governments contributing a roughly equal amount.

Though coverage for up to 100 per cent of a crop is available, many growers choose to purchase 80 per cent coverage as an appropriate level, says the agriculture ministry.

Payments to insured tree fruit growers following 2013 hail storms in the Okanagan totalled about $10 million, about half of what was initially estimated but higher than in average years.

The ministry developed and distributes a guide to tree fruit growers that specifically outlines hail insurance coverage and the different options for them to consider at: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/production_insurance/plans/treefruit/tf_hail_guide.pdf

For more  information about crop and hail insurance for tree fruit growers go to:http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/production_insurance/tree_fruits.htm

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