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U.S. Crop-Insurance Payouts Rose to Record in 2011, Group Says

U.S. crop-insurance payouts rose to an estimated record $9.1 billion in 2011 because of adverse weather, and they may top $10 billion once claims are settled, an industry group said.

Drought in the Great Plains, floods from the Mississippi River and freezing weather in the South pushed payments by companies including Wells Fargo & Co. and Ace Ltd. past the $8.67 billion record in 2008, National Crop Insurance Services, based in Overland Park, Kansas, said yesterday in a statement.

The industry has become “leaner and more efficient” followings cuts in federal funding, Tom Zacharias, the group’s president, said. “It is imperative that Congress not weaken the crop-insurance infrastructure further as it writes the 2012 farm bill.”

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