With tighter market prices seen in the cow/calf sector, producers that need to make seedstock purchases might want to consider insurance to help stretch their purchasing dollar.

Ray Trudeau of Martin-Trudeau Insurance in Mitchell, S.D. says he has seen an upward trend in the amount of cattle producers selecting insurance options to support their bull purchases the last five years. 

“Specifically we are seeing more people use the infertility option. This is the best program we have seen. It covers accident, sickness, theft and disease,” says Trudeau. “Lenders are pushing these guys to get insurance.”

In 2016 Martin-Trudeau Insurance insured $16 million in individual bulls and paid $1.5 million in claims. The average claim paid was $10,400.

“This really is a risk management tool for investments. Producers use it for their bull purchase and breeders use it for their guarantee,” Trudeau says.

He suggests producers consider purchasing insurance on bulls that are valued at anything higher than $3,000. The contracts require 10 percent of the purchase price. So, a policy for a bull valued at $6,000 will cost a producer $600. 

Yearling and two-year-old bulls can be insured for three breeding seasons and renewed at the same rate. Foot rot, damaged penis, broken leg, winter killed testicles and various other instances are covered. Genetic issues – like corkscrew feet or short penises – are not. 

“If a bull winter killed we will give 80 percent of the purchase price,” Trudeau says. 

If a bull’s prognosis is “life poor,” producers will receive 100 percent of purchase price. If a bull might be injured and unable to breed, but will live, the producer will likely get 80 percent of the purchase price value back.

For those that have home-raised bulls Martin-Trudeau insures the animals for the current market value, but takes into consideration the genetics that are present.

The process to get covered is straightforward. No more than 10 days after purchasing a bull you should call a Martin-Trudeau agent to get coverage. At this time it is the only company in South Dakota offering infertility insurance. 

In the chance you should need to make a claim you call Randa Dean in the Martin-Trudeau office before you salvage the bull. She will facilitate the paperwork, which will include a statement from a veterinarian. Other items that are needed are proof of purchase and ticket once the bull is salvaged. 

Working in partnership with insurance company, XL Catlin in Lexington, Ky., has proven to be an easy process for Dean and the cattle producers she helps with bull claims. Backed by Lloyd’s of London, XL Catlin has 77 years in the equine horse insuring business and has ventured into other livestock successfully.

“I actually think it is a very simple process,” Dean says of filing a claim. “This company (XL Catlin) seems to know producers don’t want to have the cost of keeping a bull around if they don’t have to.”

Trudeau says the key thing he tells producers is to think about when considering insurance is the punishment and abuse the bulls take every year walking pastures, enduring weather and breeding numerous cows. “With this kind of money in today’s economy . . . a lot of people buy insurance for their 4-wheelers, why wouldn’t they for their bulls?”

Endorsed by the South Dakota Angus Association, Martin-Trudeau offers livestock insurance for whole herds and individual animals whether in the pasture or in the feedlot. Whole ranch policies are not needed to tap into the infertility insurance. 

“Producers can choose to insure one bull and one bull only if that is all they are needing at the time, “ Dean says.

In 2017 Trudeau and his staff of eight will be present at 85 production sales in South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska. “People are beginning to talk about the insurance. It’s an education process, some don’t believe, but success has been good for those that do,” Trudeau says.