Without a revised Olympic average, is the new vineyard insurance stillborn?


fine-tuned this month of September, the reform of the Multi-Risk Climate insurance system (MRC) in force from January 1, 2023 was expected “eagerly. It allows any agricultural area in France to benefit from national solidarity. sums up Jean-Michel Geeraert, director of the agriculture and prevention market at Pacifica (subsidiary of Crédit Agricole). Still awaiting two essential clarifications to finalize the new contracts, he underlines that “Since 2016, there has been an acceleration in the number of claims on farms. 2022 confirms this trend in the vineyard, with the last episodes of frost, hail and drought…”

If hoped for, this device is not enough to provide the vineyard with a “element in the climate change resilience and adaptation toolbox” warns Jean-Marie Fabre, the president of the Vignerons Indépendants de France. If the vineyard is satisfied with the weather insurance deductible at 20% of damage (and a subsidy of 70%) and the financial intervention of the State for all from 50% of damage (up to 45% for the uninsured and 90% for the insured), it is not satisfied as long as the Olympic average weighs on its production benchmark (with the average of the yields over the last five years from which the highest and lowest are taken values).

Without revision of the historical reference, multi-risk insurance is already buried

“The sinews of war is to move the historical reference” summarizes Jean-Marie Fabre, who recalls that the whole issue is to modify the international texts governing it. Either the Marrackech agreement validated in 1994 by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The wine sector currently asks to take into account only the years of production free from climatic hazards (frost, hail, drought, flooding, etc.). “What we want to ensure is not the production of a year with hazards, but without” points out the president of the Vignerons Indépendants, believing that “without revision of the historical reference, multi-risk insurance is already buried”

“This question must be dealt with within the CODAR (Commission responsible for the Orientation and Development of Insurance guaranteeing the damage caused to Harvests), but that in no case can insurance compensate for the structural decline in production potential . It is then necessary to consider complementary approaches relating to prevention or adaptation. explain to Vitisphere Pascal Viné, the director of institutional relations of the insurer Groupama. At Pacifica, Jean-Michel Geeraert reports that “The public authorities are committed to working on the subject with the European Union. In the meantime, there is no choice but to propose the Olympic average over 5 years or the three-year average. If that is not enough, the operator can buy yield or lower the deductible, which we have always offered to our customers at Pacifica, even if this purchase is not subsidized. » Believing that the Olympic average will not be an obstacle to the development of the new MRC device: “Given the increase in the frequency of climatic events and the new insurance parameters granted by the public authorities, I think that a large majority of winegrowers will seize the opportunity to take out insurance. »

It’s urgent !

With 54% currently insured, “independent winegrowers will not take out insurance covering production reduced by hazards, with a more expensive contract and fewer buy-back options (yield buy-back must return, but not those for franchise and premium)” points out Jean-Marie Fabre, for whom “it must not be postponed indefinitely: it is urgent! » The winegrower from Fitou (Aude) is asking the Minister of Agriculture, Marc Fesneau, to work in the very short term with his European counterparts to bring the subject to the level of the WTO. A demand that does not seem insane for the vineyard, while the ravages of climate change weigh on world agriculture. “If there are no favorable echoes, we have to do like the other WTO states which have freed themselves from the rules (Spain and the United States). It often seems that the fact precedes the right…” slips the winemaker.

Confirming that with climate change “The exceptional year will be the one without hazards”Jean-Marie Fabre notes the interest of strengthening the toolbox by adapting viticultural practices and implementing protection: “the more we support protection, the less there will be a need for national solidarity and emergency funds” he concludes.

*: “What we still lack is the level of deductible to take out to benefit from the doubling of the indemnity rate. I am thinking first of all of the uninsured, to whom the reform is aimed, it is essential to be able to offer them a deductible of 25 or 30% while leaving compensation at 90% to encourage them to subscribe. If to benefit from the doubling of compensation the deductible is 20%, this risks discouraging those who have never invested in insurance. explains Jean-Michel Geeraert, adding that “The second pending element is the price list. We only know that of 2022, it is necessary to revise it for certain crops (with revaluations in field crops but also in vines, such as certain white AOCs)”.

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