Amid new perils pressing on farming and fishing, PCIC steps up to the plate
| DATE POSTED: FEBRUARY 26, 2021 |
The series of extreme weather events that has become a yearly problem and a vicious animal infection has thrown the huge burden of managing the widespread risk to farming and fishing on the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC).
But having been created to lower the risks to investments of agricultural producers, the four-decade old agency has been primed for the times and stepping up to the plate.
PCIC has broadened its reach among farmers and fisherfolk. Results of its 2020 operations show that some 3.09 million farmers and fisherfolk have enrolled in its insurance programs last year.
The insured includes some 1.28 million rice farmers, nearly 426,000 corn farmers, about 285,000 high value crop farmers, more than 370,000 livestock and poultry farmers, and more than 47,000 fisherfolk.
Other farmers and fisherfolk, numbering over 4,000 took out insurance for non-crop assets used to support farming and fishing while nearly 679,000 took out credit and life term insurance.
About 76% of the total insured in 2020 were provided free insurance under the “Agricultural Insurance for Farmers and Fisherfolk under the RSBSA” (RSBSA). With a P3.5 Billion allocation in the 2020 General Appropriations Act intended as government premium subsidy, it is the PCIC’s largest program.
Farmers and fisherfolk listed in the RSBSA who are actively engaged in production may avail themselves of insurance coverage – free of charge, for their standing crops, poultry and livestock, and non-crop assets used in their farming and fishing operations.
The insurance provided last year covered about 1.4 million hectares of rice farms, nearly 476 thousand hectares of corn farms, about 320 thousand hectares planted to high-value crops, and 1.3 million heads of poultry and livestock.
The DA-PCIC paid some 594,300 farmers and fishers over P3.5 Billion, the same report shows. The indemnity payments were for losses due to typhoons, wind and flooding, pests and plant diseases, livestock deaths, and farmer and fisherfolk accidents and deaths. Also included were damage claims for volcanic action, like the Taal Volcano eruption in January last year.
Fully aware of the clients’ immediate need for relief in the face of complete loss or partial destruction of crops and animals, the DA-PCIC has set a 20-day period for adjustment, validation and processing of claims. In 2020, the agency has fulfilled this in 86.73% of the total claims. The cases that were not able to comply involved lack of complete documentation and are currently being reviewed.
PCIC’s processes have been certified compliant to ISO 9001:2018, the cutting-edge quality management standards since 2018. Despite the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 lockdowns, the certification was renewed last year.
The most recent completed customer satisfaction survey for PCIC’s services, for the year 2019, showed that 96.46% of the clients were satisfied. The survey was conducted independently by a third party, the Development Academy of the Philippines, in line with the requirements of the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) which performs oversight functions over government corporations.
Demonstrating the client-responsiveness that is a hallmark of an excellently governed agency, PCIC recently quickly adjusted its livestock insurance design to support efforts at repopulating the nationwide stock of swine and keeping investors in the industry in the face of the Asian Swine Fever (ASF), a new peril to hogs locally. The redesign involves making government-ordered culling and slaughter of hogs due to ASF infection a compensable risk. Additionally, allowable indemnity payment was raised from 60% of total insurance cover to 100%.
For combining focus on good business administration and client-orientation in the way it performs its mandate, the PCIC has gained the top rank for four successive years up to 2019 in the annual corporate governance audit conducted by the GCG. For this, the agency has been cited by Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar as the gold standard for good corporate governance in the DA family.
The DA-PCIC was created by virtue of Presidential Decree 1467 in 1978, but the organization came into being in 1981. It started out by insuring rice and corn farmers. The agency’s insurance portfolio vastly expanded to other crops and insurance lines following the enactment in 1995 of Republic Act 8175 that amended the agency’s charter, and raised its capitalization.