SD Stockgrowers Association Applaud Decision on Insurance Claim

SD Stockgrowers Association Applaud Decision on Insurance Claim


The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association applaud the ruling by the Supreme Court, finding that DeSmet Farm Mutual Insurance was required to pay for livestock lost in the 2013 Winter storm Atlas.   The Supreme Court ruling, issued last Wednesday, requires DeSmet Farm Mutual Insurance to pay Richard and Lorayna Papousek of Quinn, for 93 head of yearling heifers that were killed in the blizzard.

Stockgrowers President Bill Kluck said, “We’re really happy to see that the Papousek’s are finally going to see a payment for their lost livestock. It’s really a shame that it took a Supreme Court ruling for this family to be paid by their insurance company. We’re glad that this case settled in favor of the ranchers, and appreciate Justice Janine Kern’s decision.”

Winter Storm Atlas hit western South Dakota in early-October 2013. Papousek’s submitted an insurance claim for the death of 93 heifers. The family’s veterinarian determined the cause of death to be drowning from water found in the animal’s lungs, which had been inhaled from the heavy blowing snow and rain. The company denied the claim on a technicality saying that the cattle hadn’t died by submersion in a body of water and therefore hadn’t drowned. The court case centered on the definition of “drowning” which was not clearly defined in the insurance policy purchased by the Papousek’s.

In the July 20 ruling, the South Dakota Supreme Court Justices all concurred in Judge Kern’s ruling on the side of the Papousek family’s claim and required DeSmet Farm Mutual to pay the claim.

“If you pay your insurance company for coverage, it shouldn’t be too much to ask them to take care of your claim when you have a loss like this. It’s hard to keep your business going through a disaster if your insurance company doesn’t back you up. I really hope that we don’t see this type of case again,” said Kluck.

“I’d encourage everyone to make sure you review your livestock insurance policies so you know what’s in the fine print and feel confident that you’re working with a company that will take care of business when you need them to.”