In 2013, the Cornutt family of Marshall County raised a spacious red barn on the foundation of an old poultry house. Rickey Cornutt added the barn to his Alfa Insurance policy and moved on raising corn, wheat, soybeans and cattle.
But nearly three years later, Cornutt, with help from Alfa Farm Services Representative Bryan Hornbuckle, saw an oversight — the nonexistent poultry house was still insured under the policy of his mother, Carolyn.
“It was a blessing for Bryan to come out and go over our farm policy,” said Cornutt, an Alabama Farmers Federation state board member. “It saved us money and added more insurance to our policy. You hope you never use the insurance, but when you need it, you’re grateful.”
Hornbuckle is one of 10 Farm Services representatives, licensed insurance agents who perform comprehensive farm reviews. Farm Services Supervisor Shane Wootten said their goal is simple — help farmers strategically maximize protection and minimize risk.
“One in three farms has an outbuilding or equipment needing to be insured or removed from the policy,” Wootten said. “When our guys visit a farm, they get a sense for what farmers need, whether it’s better liability coverage, an umbrella policy or changing the coverage amount on a depreciated piece of equipment.”
While working around the family’s busy schedule, Hornbuckle fine-tuned the Cornutts’ policies. First up: Recouping payments to Carolyn, an Alfa customer since 1964. Employer’s liability coverage was added, and Rickey’s brother Chris and Cornutt Farms LLC were added to the policy. All barn and equipment coverages were re-evaluated, several farm locations were added, and the Cornutts chose to more than triple farm liability coverage.
“I feel like to be a successful farmer, you need plenty of coverage because you never know what could happen,” Cornutt said.
Hornbuckle said many producers say farm reviews are the first time they understand the coverage they have — or don’t have.
“To do a thorough review, we have to learn about your farm and the risks you might have,” he said. “We walk around the farm, note the equipment and buildings on the policy and see what needs to be added or deleted. If we see something we can’t insure, we let the farmer know how to correct it.”
The review depends on farm size and the farmer’s schedule. Representatives try to re-evaluate farms every three or four years.
“Bryan took care of us,” Cornutt said. “After consulting with him, we took out a $1 million umbrella policy. That’s a good bit of money, but we felt for our size operation, it would help us sleep better. Sometimes I wonder if it’s enough.”
Contact a local Alfa agent to learn more.