Sask. sees fewer insurance claims

Record crop production and the resulting lack of insurance claims helped push Saskatchewan’s surplus to $589 million last year, according to recently released year-end financial results.

That’s up from the forecasted $150 million surplus in the 2013-14 budget.

Finance minister Ken Krawetz said much of the surplus came from insurance organizations within the government, including crop insurance, the auto fund and worker’s compensation.

“As a result of a great crop and very few claims, we saw smaller expenses on AgriStability and crop insurance claims and of course the crop insurance fund grew,” he said.

Agricultural spending was down 37.3 percent, or $310 million, from budget.

Krawetz noted that insurance spending is out of government’s control, as is the weather that could have adversely affected the crop.

“The statistics show that we’re going to have a bad year,” he said.

“I hope it’s (not) for a long time into the future.”

He also said although the surplus is large, there is no cash to spend on other things because the surplus was realized in insurance organizations. Both the auto fund and worker’s compensation saw higher than expected investment income.

“That surplus needs to remain there for when we will have a massive hailstorm and the auto fund will need the dollars,” he said.

Krawetz said it’s too soon to tell what will happen this year in terms of the crop. He expects about 1.5 million acres could go unseeded as a result of the rain and localized flooding.

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