Proposed changes to the AgriInsurance Program - Contract of Insurance and Appeals
O. Reg. 380/97
O. Reg. 140/96
O. Reg. 582/20
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Agricultural Products Insurance Act, 1996
Summary of Decision:
Regulations have been updated to operationalize changes made to the Agricultural Products Insurance Act (APIA) under the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 to enable improvements to the AgriInsurance contract and the appeals process.
O. Reg. 380/97 (General) has been revoked. It was identified as a key barrier to implementing improvements to the AgriInsurance program, as it was outdated, prescriptive and repeated information in the insurance contract. Most of the provisions have been incorporated into a new contract that will be rolled out by AgriCorp in phases, beginning in this fall. The new contract:
Significantly reduces the amount of paperwork individual producers must review and complete (an average of 45 pages). The contact has been streamlined and plain language used, with fewer and better organized documents with less repetition. Producers will be better able to understand their coverage and responsibilities.
Aligns with AgriCorp's new IT system functionality. AgriCorp will leverage its new IT system to allow for more modernized processes, such as more telephone and online reporting tools (as opposed to mailing and filling out paper forms). Customers will be encouraged to make more use of existing services, such as Online Acreage Reporting, reporting acreage and harvest yields by telephone, and direct deposit.
Standardizes the way AgriCorp describes coverage. This would make it possible to more quickly implement new plans or plan changes using standardized language.
The ministry has also revoked O. Reg. 140/96 (Appeals Proceeding) and replaced it with O. Reg. 582/20 to improve the fairness of the appeals process and to extend the time for producers to prepare and file an appeal by changing the time when the appeals process begins. Producers now have one year after receiving a decision from AgriCorp to file an appeal. Currently producers have one year from filing of their proof of loss form with AgriCorp.
May 27, 2020
Summary of Proposal:
AgriInsurance is a federal-provincial cost-shared program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It was established in 1966 under the Crop Insurance Act and is continued under the APIA.
AgriInsurance operates like a basic insurance program and covers losses and yield reductions caused by natural hazards for 77 agricultural products. In 2019, there were about 14,000 customers representing 5 million acres insured and $3.57 billion in liability.
In fall 2017, the ministry and AgriCorp identified improvements to the program that could be implemented to improve the client experience, reduce burden, and improve fairness of the appeals process for the customers enrolled.
The changes could not be implemented as the APIA did not provide the flexibility or the authority for the Minister and AgriCorp to make the improvements. The APIA was amended under the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 to enable the Minister and AgriCorp to make the improvements. Specifically, the APIA was amended to (among other things): (1) remove the requirement for AgriCorp to specify the terms/conditions of a contract of insurance (the contract) in a regulation; and (2) allow the Minister to make amendments to the appeals process.
The following regulatory changes are required for the APIA amendments to be implemented and for producers to benefit from the improvements identified:
(1) Amendments to revoke O. Reg. 380/97 (General Regulation)
O. Reg. 380/97 sets out a number of requirements for the AgriInsurance contract that have been incorporated into a revised contract that will be rolled out in phases to producers, beginning this summer.
O. Reg. 380/97 was identified as a key barrier to implementing the program and contract improvements identified. The regulation is outdated, repeats information in the contract, contains prescriptive requirements, and introduces complexity in the time limits for producers to notify AgriCorp about crop damage.
The 2019 amendments to the APIA removed the requirement for AgriCorp to fix the terms of the contract in regulation (i.e. AgriCorp retains the authority to fix the terms of the contact but does not have to do so via regulation) making it easier to make changes to the contract that would significantly reduce the amount of paperwork AgriInsurance producers must review and complete.
The Minister retains the ability to approve changes to the contract that impact premiums or add new risks.
(2) Amendments to O. Reg. 140/96 (Appeal Proceedings Regulation)
These amendments would:
Extend the time for producers to prepare and file an appeal by changing the time when the appeals process begins. If approved, producers would have one year after receiving a decision from AgriCorp to file an appeal. Currently producers have one year from the filing of their proof of loss form with AgriCorp.
Set out the process in which appeals are made. For example, who gets notice and at what time the appeal must be made.
Remove obsolete references (e.g. Crop Insurance Arbitration Board which no longer exists).
Name: Shain Cameron
Branch: Farm Finance Branch
Address: 1 Stone Road West, N1G 4Y2
October 19, 2020