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Uninsured N.C. Tobacco Farmers Worry About Potential Hail Storms

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NASH COUNTY — Tobacco farmers are making their way to thefields to get this year's crop in the ground, but this year, there is another hurdle for the gold leaf.

Gerald Coggin has one more worry to deal with this season. His insurance company will not sell hail insuranceto him or any other tobacco farmer in NorthCarolina this year.

"It's going to affect us later on if we have problems," Coggin says. "If we don'thave any hail insurance and ourcrop gets destroyed, that's just a year'sworth of work gone down the drain."

So far, the Hartford Insurance Company basedin Nebraska is the only insurance company to offer hail insurance in the state. Farmers are not complaining that the insurance is notavailable. They are concerned about the timing.

Tobacco farmers typically buy at least two types of insurance: standard and hail coverage. Insurance companies like to bundle both, but the deadline for standard, known as multi-peril coverage, was six weeks ago.Farmers say it is too late now to get hailinsurance alone.

The Hartford Insurance Company says farmers who desireinsurance protection limits higher than those provided through theirmulti-peril insurance should be able to obtaincrop hail insurance from other insurancecompanies.

Independent agent Carl Stokes says it is notthat simple.

"We just didn't have any idea this wascoming. Had we known, we could have probablyplanned a little bit better," he says. "Certainly, we could have shopped some moremarkets for thecustomers."

Tobacco farmers are already juggling government regulations and pressurefrom cigarette makers. Some tobacco growers arecontacting their congressmen for help.

 Credits

Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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