Climate insurance: after national solidarity, place for agricultural solidarity

[Edito] Exactly one year after what the Minister of Agriculture called “the biggest agronomic disaster of the 21stth »the frost was recalled to the bad memory of arboriculturists and winegrowers, even here and there cereal growers, over a large part of the territory. The North-East quarter will be on alert again this weekend. In a now Pavlovian reflex, the government has pulled out its old toolbox: emergency funds, agricultural calamities, exemption from social charges, relief from property tax on unbuilt property. Without forgetting the ritual testimony of solidarity of the Prime Minister and his Minister of Agriculture. Last year in the South, this year in the Tarn-et-Garonne.

National… and agricultural solidarity?

It will be the last time. In April 2023 (never two without three for the superstitious), the law relating to the management of climate risks, promulgated on March 2, will be operational. No more agricultural calamities and other poultices (but probably not solidarity visits). Place, from 1is January 2023, to the universal risk coverage scheme with the new climate multi-risk insurance for losses roughly between 20% and 50% (the thresholds by crop remain to be defined) and national solidarity beyond that. Let it be said: there will be no other safety net. The system is not unanimous within the profession, perceived by some as a premium for insurers. And yet, for it to be efficient, it will require the massive support of farmers to generate a pooling effect, the essence of any insurance. After national solidarity, will agricultural solidarity operate?

The European Commission believes in it

The future will tell. But at a time when geopolitical events offer little leverage to thwart soaring energy, fertilizer and food prices, when a health and economic catastrophe such as avian influenza borders on impotence, it would be a shame not to give an insurance product a chance, offering a form of shield, even open to criticism, while the hazards are increasing.

On the subject, the European Commission has just cheered up our governments. In the course of its observations on the National Strategic Plan delivered by France last December, the European executive “welcomes France’s desire to strengthen the resilience of farms and support farmers in the event of hazards”as well as “its plural approach combining prevention, development of protection and use of risk management tools”. The Commission believes in this so much that it fears that farmers, who are too well insured, will relax their vigilance on the means of preventing climatic risks. This is called moral hazard. A height that the government, even in a dream, would never have imagined.

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