Early crop changes dynamic of this year’s hail season

Prairie hail adjusters are busy earlier than usual this year following several recent storms.

“We’ve been pretty steady since June 21,” said Murray Bantle of Regina-based Co-op Hail and chair of the Canadian Crop Hail Association. “It’s kind of been hailing every couple days whether we need it or not.”

He said companies have written more hail policies this year and the insured value is greater.

Farmers are looking at good crops that are ahead of schedule for development, which could prompt more policy buying as the potential for damage increases.

“Typically, early crop doesn’t suffer as much damage,” Bantle said. “Now we’re with a crop that’s a little more advanced.”

Hail reports have been coming in since May, but really picked up the third week of June.

In Saskatchewan, storms June 29 and July 3 have resulted in the highest number of claims so far. Hail cut through wide swaths of the province those two dates, including: Dinsmore, Elrose, Wilkie, Rosetown, Biggar, Landis, Cutknife, Swift Current, Viceroy, Assiniboia, Weyburn, Redvers, Carlyle, Alida, Kindersley, Kerrobert, Eston, Plenty, Marengo, Fiske, Wiseton, Delmas, North Battleford, Outlook, Davidson, McLean, Qu’Appelle, Vibank and Balcarres.

Many areas have been hit more than once.

Alberta reports fewer storms, but thousands of claims.

Those claims have come from High Level in the far northwest to Foremost in the southeast. Ponoka was hit twice and more recent claims will be coming from storms after the most recent CCHA report.

In Manitoba, hail started early and has been scattered across the province.

Significant storms occurred June 25, June 29 and July 4, resulting in claims from Benito, Bowsman, Brandon, Bruxelles, Carman, Fannystelle, Elgin, Elm Creek, Kenville, Miami, Minitonas, Notre Dame Delourdes, Pilot Mound, Somerset, St. Leon, Swan Lake, Swan River, Treherne, Deloraine, Glenboro, Holland, Nesbitt, Somerset, Waskada, Winkler, Darlingford, Headingley, La Riviere, Manitou, Morden and St. Francois Xavier.

Among the largest hail reported were baseball-sized stones July 3 in Kindersley, Sask.

Many hail insurers will sell policies through July but Bantle said the early crop development led to early buying.

“Normally June 21 to July 25 is busiest. We’re on the backside of that because they all bought a week earlier this year,” he said.

He also said adjusters could use a break in the unsettled weather that has caused so many claims.

“We’re pretty taxed from the number of claims we have out of our office and I’m sure most of the other guys are,” he said.

Adjusters have 30 days to look at hail damage but Bantle said most producers get anxious if they don’t see an adjuster within 10 or 15 days.

However, he anticipates the number of claims this year could lead to a two-week delay for many.

There are never enough adjusters, he said, because it’s hard to find people who want to be busy all summer.

“The work force is typically older and it’s getting harder,” Bantle said. “It’s a tough grind for everyone to find adjusters.”

The CCHA represents 11 companies that sell hail insurance.

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