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John Shea, 202-690-0437


WASHINGTON, Mar 4, 2010 - USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) today said Occidental Fire and Casualty Company of North Carolina, headquartered in Raleigh, NC, will become the 16th crop insurance company approved to operate under USDA’s Standard Reinsurance Agreement. Occidental’s Crop Division located in Overland Park, KS, will manage its crop insurance business.

“It is essential that farmers have affordable and effective risk management tools," said RMA Administrator William J. Murphy. “Occidental’s assets and talents represent a welcome addition to the Federal crop insurance program. We at USDA continually work to maintain and improve a network that serves as a solid foundation for the continued delivery of Federal crop insurance that does so in a prudent and cost effective manner for farmers, private insurance providers, and taxpayers.”

Representatives from Occidental have signed the Standard Reinsurance Agreement with USDA and have met the financial and operational requirements of the Federal Crop Insurance Program. Occidental has a rating of "A- (Excellent)" from the A.M. Best Company, and was previously a Federal crop insurance approved insurance provider from 2004 to 2006.

As authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, RMA is in the process of renegotiating a Standard Reinsurance Agreement with the crop insurance companies who are already participating. Working with the companies, RMA is confident that the groups will come to an agreement that is prudent and sustainable for producers, companies and the taxpayer.