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PIA Agents Decry Attack by Federal Employees Union

A federal employees union wants to expel private sector crop insurance agents – and possibly insurance companies – from a large swath of the federal crop insurance program, in an apparent attempt to protect union members from budget cuts
February 28, 2012

A federal employees union wants to expel private sector crop insurance agents – and possibly insurance companies – from a large swath of the federal crop insurance program, in an apparent attempt to protect union members from budget cuts.

The National Association of Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Office Employees (NASCOE) is actively lobbying Congress, urging that the private sector insurance agents who sell and service crop insurance policies be replaced by federal government employees who work for the FSA. A study paid for by the union also looks at federal government employees performing functions currently handled by private insurance companies.

“Moving certain parts of the crop insurance program back to the FSA would set the program back 30 years, to a time when the program was inefficient, underutilized and administrative costs were significantly higher,” said Mike Becker, assistant vice president of federal affairs for PIA National. “The public/private partnership that has developed over the years has been critical to the overall success of the crop insurance program.” Becker noted that NASCOE has commissioned a study that purports to show potential cost savings to the federal government if portions of the crop insurance program were to be de-privatized as the union is recommending. “Lawmakers must keep in mind that this study was paid for by a group that already determined the conclusions it wanted to reach.”

“Over the last ten years, the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) has generated an unprecedented net underwriting gain of $3.9 billion that goes directly to the U.S. Treasury,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Leonard C. Brevik. “The crop insurance program is a resounding success. The United States has the most productive agriculture sector in the world. Farmers, ranchers, growers, consumers, our rural economies and our entire national economy depend on the proven quality of our crop insurance program, which is effectively and efficiently delivered today by the private sector.”

Read PIA's statement on attacks against crop agents: PIA Agents Decry Attack by Federal Employees Union (PIA 2/24/12)

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