Lemons on tree

Fire risk is high on many farms, ranches and agribusinesses in western states which can make it more difficult for insurance providers to help customers protect property. An expansion of a state program and new coverage option can help make farm fire protection available when and where it wouldn’t be with conventional insurance.

California insurers have worked together for decades to protect customers from fire risk. The California FAIR Plan Association provides coverage options in cases when conventional insurance coverage isn’t available.

What is the California FAIR Plan?

The California FAIR Plan Association is a group, including Nationwide, comprising all licensed property and casualty insurers in the state. Its goal is to pool resources to issue policies to cover fire risk on behalf of member companies. It creates insurance coverage the companies can’t provide alone. And demand for FAIR Plan coverage is booming.

“In the last decade, more Californians have turned to the FAIR Plan as wildfires have devastated California and some insurers have pulled back from these markets. While we will support homeowners regardless of a property’s fire risk, unlike traditional insurers, our goal is attrition,” according to the FAIR Plan website. “For most homeowners, the FAIR Plan is a temporary safety net — here to support them until coverage offered by a traditional carrier becomes available.”

FAIR Plan coverage helps provide peace-of-mind until conventional policy options are available for homeowners and now for farm owners.

“Basic property insurance is provided for farms by the plan’s Commercial Property policy. It’s a named peril policy that can cover fire, lightning and internal explosion losses,” said Emily Berrier, Associate Vice President of Farm Underwriting & Sales at Nationwide.

When FAIR Plan policy options aren’t enough

But for ag customers, FAIR Plan options aren’t always enough for working farm assets beyond a home. “FAIR Plan policies are not comprehensive. Farm and ranch customers may need more coverage to adequately protect their personal and farm property from other causes of loss,” Emily said.

That’s where the Nationwide Difference in Conditions (DIC) program steps in for farm owners. It surrounds the FAIR Plan policy and provides ag-specific home and farm outbuilding coverage for losses other than fire. The DIC endorsement extends coverage for losses to equipment and includes farm and personal liability. All coverages are subject to terms and conditions in the policy. 

“I can appreciate why insurance carriers are having to make challenging business decisions,” said Johnnie White, California Farm Bureau board member representing Napa, Sonoma and Marin County Farm Bureaus. “The DIC policy offered through Nationwide has been helpful to our operation because it fills in the coverage gaps we would have experienced with just a standalone California FAIR Plan.”

How to find the right DIC coverage

Emily said there are a few steps in finding the right DIC option for your farm or ranch. First, confirm existing Nationwide coverage with your Farm Certified agent. Your agent will then work with a Nationwide Farm Underwriter to create a coverage quote that matches the value of your covered assets. Finally, your agent will identify the specific coverage you need. Then you’ll work together to determine the most cost-effective policy options.

“With fire risk making it increasingly difficult for residential and commercial property owners in California to get appropriate protection, Nationwide agents play a critical role in ensuring you have adequate coverage,” Emily said.

Added White: “As a member, I appreciate that California Farm Bureau and Nationwide continue to collaborate to create business solutions that meet the needs of the farming and ranching community in today’s business environment.”

Make sure you’re adequately managing the risk fire poses to your operation. Talk to your Nationwide Farm Certified agent about FAIR Plan coverage and DIC options.

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