WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 25, 2007—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) applauds Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and the other members of the Committee for passing Senator Roberts’ amendment to de-link the Average Crop Revenue (ACR) from the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) and for including a permanent PRP repeal as part of the 2007 Farm Bill. The 2007 Farm Bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee today.
The Farm Bill, the House version of which passed the full House in July, would provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012. The Big “I” expressed significant concerns about the ACR plan and the proposal's impact on farmers and the crop insurance market. The Roberts Amendment addresses many of the concerns raised by the Big “I” by de-linking the ACR proposal from the crop insurance program, thereby reducing the negative impact that ACR will have on the crop insurance market and on farmers who choose not to participate in the ACR. The Big ‘I’ is strongly supportive of Roberts’ Amendment to the ACR provision in the Senate Farm Bill and is grateful to Senator Roberts and the other Senators who supported his common-sense compromise.
“By de-linking ACR from crop insurance, the Senator’s amendment provides farmers with the option sought by some while also maintaining the integrity of the crop insurance program, which has served as a vital risk management tool for millions of America’s farmers," says John M. Prible, Big “I” assistant vice president of federal government affairs. “More work may be required on the ACR provision as this bill moves forward, and the Big “I” looks forward to working with the entire Senate to ensure that any ACR option does not unduly harm those farmers that rely on the crop insurance program for their protection.”
The 2007 Farm Bill would also permanently repeal Premium Reduction Plans (PRPs). The Big “I” has long opposed PRP and has sought the repeal of this program because of various issues with PRPs that are contrary to the best interest of consumers.
“The Big ‘I’ has been fighting against PRP, and the discriminatory practices it encourages, for a number of years and the Committee's decision to include language repealing PRP is a significant and welcome development for independent insurance agents and farmers alike,” says Prible. ”We applaud Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Chambliss for advancing this legislation and hope it will gain full Senate approval as soon as possible.”
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.