Area farmers have another option when it comes to hail coverage.
“We’re making Straight Hail insurance available online this spring so farmers have more immediate access to hail protection around the clock,” said Lorelei Hulston, provincial insurance manager with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC).
“They can still purchase hail coverage through AFSC offices and hail agents, but online access is something producers have been asking us for.”
Online access will give farmers around the clock access to coverage, which is an important change for producers, said Hulston.
“It’s especially important for farmers who take a wait-and-see approach with hail,” she said, adding that some producers wait to see if their crops are off to a good start before they decide to purchase hail insurance.
Hail is always a risk in Alberta because of geography and weather patterns, said Dan Kulak, an Environment Canada meteorologist.
Hail season runs from late May through September. AFSC paid out more than $170 million in hail insurance claims across the province last year.
The bulk of the damage came from a series of intense August long weekend storms that cut a wide swath from north of Olds down to Milk River, said Hulston.
Grant Budgeon, a Crossfield area producer, has had his farm hit by hail nine out of the past 10 years. Last year, all 2,600 acres of his barley and canola crops were pelted with hail over the August long weekend.
Damage ranged from 55 to 100 per cent on every field.
“There was a hurricane wind that brought the stones in sideways,” said Budgeon. “Hail is so unpredictable.”
For more information on the new online hail insurance option, contact the nearest AFSC office or the call centre at 1-877-899-2372.