Little used bird flu insurance | Master Edition

Before bird flu was confirmed on a Pennsylvania farm last week, farmers could get coverage for the disease on their farm insurance policies.

Few of Brent Landis’ clients have done that.

Landis, an agent with Annie W. Metzler Insurance Agency Inc. in Quarryville, suspects interest has been low because Pennsylvania has not had a serious outbreak of bird flu this century.

Landis has received many more calls about insurance since April 16, when the USDA announced the disease was discovered in a Lancaster County diaper complex.

But because Pennsylvania is now considered a significant bird flu risk, Everett Cash Mutual Insurance Co. — which provides insurance for poultry farms through the Metzler agency — has temporarily withdrawn that coverage option. earlier this week.

Prior to the recent outbreak, Landis said, poultry farmers could choose coverage for the disease based on the configuration of their farm: contract or independent producer.

Contract farmers’ prime rates are determined by their monthly income and provide protection for up to six months.

For independent producers, rates are determined by the value of the birds.

“Today these birds would be very valuable,” Landis said.

The insurance is especially useful for farms that are in a quarantine zone near an infected farm, Landis said.

Most poultry farmers have a farm insurance policy covering their homes and farm buildings. Adding health coverage is usually relatively inexpensive, Landis said.

Once Pennsylvania eradicates bird flu, Everett Cash will allow farmers to add it back to their farm policies.

But if history is any guide, Landis expects most to live with the risk or forget the option.

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