NU Online News Service, Dec. 16, 3:05 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON–Consolidation in the crop insurance sector continued as Everest Re Group, a Bermuda-based insurer, announced Wednesday that it has entered into discussions with Kansas-based Heartland Crop Insurance regarding a potential acquisition.

The merger would be the fourth consummated or proposed since the Agriculture Department negotiated a $6 billion cut in subsidies to the program, or 30 percent over 10 years. The new agreement also imposed hard and soft caps on agent commissions.

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