Crop insurers money laundering? House Republicans threaten to shut the government this fall unless the White House agrees to more cuts in nutrition, health and environmental programs; however, aid for corporations remains untouched.
Former American International Group Inc. chief Maurice “Hank” Greenberg has a new business partner: the U.S. taxpayer.
Greenberg’s Starr Indemnity & Liability Co. is one of 18 companies approved to get federal cash for insuring farmers against loss of crops or income. Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), the nation’s fourth-largest bank by assets, Zurich-based Ace Ltd. (ACE) and units of American Financial Group Inc., (AFG) Deere & Co. (DE) and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM) all enjoy similar public backing.
The government subsidies show how a program created to safeguard the nation’s farmers has evolved into a system that in most years all but guarantees profits for insurers. In 2012, taxpayers spent $14 billion paying more than 60 percent of farmers’ insurance premiums, the companies’ operating costs and the lion’s share of claims triggered by a historic drought, according to the Congressional Research Service.