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Highlights

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) administers the federal crop insurance program in partnership with private insurers. In 2006, the program cost $3.5 billion, including millions in losses from fraud, waste, and abuse, according to USDA. The Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000 granted RMA authority to renegotiate the terms of RMA's standard reinsurance agreement with companies once over 5 years. This testimony is based on GAO's 2005 report, Crop Insurance: Actions Needed to Reduce Program's Vulnerability to Fraud, Waste, and Abuse, as well as new analyses this Committee requested on underwriting gains and administrative and operating expenses USDA paid companies. GAO discusses (1) USDA's processes to address fraud, waste, and abuse; (2) extent the program's design makes it vulnerable to abuse; and (3) reasonableness of underwriting gains and other expenses. USDA agreed with most of GAO's 2005 recommendations to improve program integrity. RMA agreed that GAO's new analyses were technically accurate.

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