Written by Greg Merrill


For more than 15 years, Pan American has been fortunate to count one of the oldest family-owned wineries in Northern California amongst our clients. This vineyard enjoys unique geology and diverse soils that enable the production of high-quality wine labels.

We began handling the winery’s crop insurance in 2002. Since then, our business relationship has strengthened, and the client has become familiar with our expertise in the agricultural sector. In 2009, the client entrusted Pan American to place all other lines of coverage.

This decision was heavily influence by Pan American’s recommended approach on covering their property risks. As we explain to all current and prospective clients, vineyard and winery operations have unique property-and-casualty exposures, yet many brokers default to a simple Package Policy to cover stock. As a result, there can be numerous exclusions and policy-form limitations. Rather that instituting a one-size-fits-all strategy, our approach comprises investing significant time with our clients to fully understand their potential risks, followed by outlining a range of alternative strategies.

For this particular client, we explained the advantages of using a “Stock Throughput Policy” (STP) rather than the Property Coverage part of a Package Policy. (An STP is an “all risk” insurance policy that provides seamless coverage from the field to final sale.) Unlike the Property Coverage in a Package Policy, a properly tailored STP can offer growers and distributors comprehensive protection against numerous perils, including earthquake, flood, and contamination.

Earlier this year, during production, a valve malfunctioned and several hundred gallons of fine wine in process—valued at more than $250,000—were lost. Coverage could have been excluded had they relied on a basic Package Property coverage, but because they had already implemented the “all risk” STP, it was fortunately a covered loss.

Do you have the correct coverage in place for your unique exposures? Contact us for a consultation today.


About the Author:

Greg joined Pan American more than a decade ago focusing on crop insurance. He soon began to practice other lines of insurance and is now versed in both Property/Casualty and Life/Health. In 2009, Greg was appointed Director of Pan American’s crop insurance division. Greg is dedicated to excellence in his field and is committed to providing comprehensive insurance coverage solutions to his clients. He specializes in agribusiness and has clients throughout Northern, Central & Southern California.

Designations & Achievements:
CIC – Certified Insurance Counselor
AFIS – Agribusiness & Farm Insurance Specialist
National Alliance School for Producer Development (Graduate)
2009 President’s Award