As the drought spreads and attention turns to worsening crop conditions in farm country, the nation’s crop insurers have reassured farmers that companies will have the money necessary to quickly pay out claims in 2012, even amid record payouts last year.

For every dollar of premium that insurance companies write, they have a regulatory requirement to have the private financial backing to cover catastrophic losses. Each year, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation reviews and approves every company’s plan of operations to ensure that adequate capital is available, explained Tom Zacharias, president of National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS), the industry’s trade association.

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“We’ve always been there for our farmer customers when they’ve faced tough times in the past and we’ll continue to be there,” he said.

Zacharias said 2011, which was marked by widespread weather-related loss and a record $11 billion in indemnity payments, should serve as a good model for what farmers can expect this year.

In 2011, most payments to farmers on the policies they purchased were processed within 30 days of claims being finalized. Such efficiency required a highly trained and skilled force of agents and claims adjusters, Zacharias pointed out.