include coverage for declining market
price, but this is a financial guarantee
that many insurers will not underwrite.
The problem with the bee colony collapse is that while bee keeping is a major agricultural industry, we don’t really know how much an individual bee
worth. How does one calculate a loss
where there is no specific “premises location,” other than the wooden hive with
its screens inside—the bees fly away and
simply don’t return? The bee keeper then
moves on to the next customer with fewer bees. Both the farmers and the bee
keepers incur a loss, but how can it be
defined or calculated? Nevertheless, bee
keepers need some form of agricultural
The government considers colony collapse
disorder (CCD) a major disaster in the making, as
bees are needed to pollinate hundreds of crops,
from berries and nuts to soybeans and corn.
Handling a livestock or crop claim
is much like handling any other sort of
insurance claim. Evaluation and nego-
tiation of the damages is the last part of
the adjustment: First, the adjuster must
determine the exact type and cause of
loss and find out if that was within the
intended purpose of the policy language.
Investigation of liability may seem an
unusual requirement, but it does need
consideration. Did the crop disease or
insect infestation spread from a neigh-
boring property because that neighbor
failed to control the disease or infesta-
tion and allowed it to spread? Did the
livestock die because of some chemical
or pesticide that ought to not be on the
market? Neonicotinoids are, after all,
an effective pesticide as they are applied
to the seed, not the growing plant, and
ward off insects. It might pose a tricky
legal question, but failure to seek any po-
Let’s Consider Subrogation
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tential for subrogation is a mistake.
For example, if a rancher depends of a
creek for water for his herd and a neighbor higher up the creek dams it, cutting
off the water supply and part of the herd
dies creating an insurance claim, subrogation is the better way to respond rather
than the old-fashioned gunfight that often
accompanied range wars of the past. The
“six-shooter” is certainly not standard-issue equipment for the claims adjuster.
Today’s adjuster needs a good scientific
and investigative mind.
Ken Brownlee, CPCU, is a former adjuster
and risk manager based in Atlanta, Ga.
He now authors and edits claim-adjusting
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