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Coverage gaps top concern for farm and ranch owners

August 9, 2021

U.S. farm operations are rapidly evolving and not as homogeneous as they once were. Traditionally farm and ranch operators relied solely on their agent to make sure their operations were adequately covered. As a result of the Midwest derecho, farmers found out the hard way that their coverage wasn’t enough while some farmers were relieved that they had done a recent review of coverages with their Farm Certified agent. Rod Pierce, an Iowa farmer and Nationwide farm policyholder remarked, “My previous agent went four or five years without calling me. My Nationwide Farm Certified agent moved some of my buildings to replacement cost that if I hadn’t done before this big storm, I doubt I would still be in business.”

Nationwide recently sponsored an article in Farm Journal’s AgWeb about common coverage gaps and the hits to the page was three times that of any other content. Farmers and ranchers are definitely concerned about this risk.

The more you can show you understand your customers’ risk management needs and businesses in general, the more confidence they’ll have in you to protect their operation and look to you as a trusted advisor. And that confidence translates to new business growth for you.

That’s exactly what you get when you become Nationwide On Your Side® Farm Certified: You not only know how to better take care of your customers’ risk management needs, but the industry dynamics and mechanics that contribute to those needs. You are already the expert in agriculture risk management; when you become a Farm Certified agent, you become an expert in agriculture. Farm Certification puts you head-and-shoulders above other agents in the marketplace.

“Our Farm Certified agents can provide an elevated level of expertise and service to their customers as a result of the insight and relationships they’ve gained from their involvement in the program,” said Nationwide Agribusiness Vice President for Sales Dirk Pollitt. “We continue to hear from our customers that these are the agents they want to do business with. At Nationwide, we exist to protect people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care and these Farm Certified Agents help us do that.”

Farm Certification helps you grow your business

The three-tier training program provides you the tools to grow your agency’s business and build on the relationships you have with customers by knowing not just the specifics about their operations, but also how current and future industry trends can shape their risk management needs down the road.

According to Marc Menninga, Nationwide Agribusiness Sales Manager, “Roughly 75% of our business comes from Farm Certified agents. With so many agencies selling farm insurance out there, the Farm Certification program helps show customers you have skills and knowledge that other agents don’t have, as you progress through the program, you learn more about your customers, what Nationwide can offer them and their industry in general. You become the trusted advisor for farm risk management.”

Three certification levels enhance your ability to help farmers manage risk

  • Basic: “Agents will gain an in-depth review of Nationwide’s AgriChoice® property and liability coverages along with information on our appetite, resources and systems to successfully quote business,” Menninga said.
  • Master: Building on Basic certification, agents will gain more in-depth information on endorsements, and large vertically integrated farms,” Menninga said. “A master-level certified agent has a strong understanding of different operations, the inherent risks of each type of more complex operations and how the risks differ.”
  • Premier: At this top level, agents know how to stay ahead of customers’ future risk management needs. “Premier agents are prepared to partner with customers to think about the future of their operations and agriculture in general. This group of agents is really strategic focused and have the ability to connect closely with the leaders of Underwriting, Sales, Risk Management and Claims.” Menninga said.

Your time commitment and results

Farm Certification training typically amounts to a two-day course during which agents may receive continuing education credits on a state-by-state basis. In addition to certification in one of three tiers, agents leave Farm Certification training with resources to promote the fact that they are prepared to elevate service and better understand their customers’ businesses.

“We’re helping our agents get in front of customers and say ‘there’s a better way to do this, and here’s how,’” Menninga said. “It helps them show they are attentive to their needs and have the right products. Once they see how much our Farm Certified agents know and care, the customers will care more too. We already have the best products. This training helps ensure we have the best people too.”