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Crop insurers have paid a record $11.6 billion to U.S. growers in compensation for losses due largely to widespread drought in 2012, the first money-losing year for the industry in a decade, the government said on Jan. 15.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said in a weekly update of business done through the federally subsidized crop insurance program said indemnities topped $11.58 billion. Some analysts expect indemnities to reach $20 billion this year, nearly double the old record of $10.84 billion that was paid last year for the 2011 crop. Insurers collected $11.06 billion in premiums, so payments already are 5 percent larger than premiums with more claims expected. The most recent year in which payments exceeded premiums was 2002.

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