A farmer’s focus is on the efficient production of crop products and livestock, however, with so many variables involved – animal behaviour, machinery, the human factor, and of course, the weather – it is perhaps not surprising that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) considers farming a high risk area. It is recorded that 3% of farm workers suffer injury each year, and in the last 5 years there have been 160 fatalities.
Here, Ryan Roberts, Associate Director from H&H Insurance Brokers looks at some of those risks and how planning and appropriate insurance, can prevent accidents turning into financial disasters.
Those working in agriculture are aware of the dangers and in recent years the industry has developed its professionalism and attitude towards Health & Safety, and the necessity of keeping their staff, animals, equipment and buildings as safe as they can make them.
Everyone is aware that there is always likely to be some level of risk, and that it makes sense to minimise this. Should the worst happen, insurance is there to protect against the financial consequences of accidents and losses. Although it is for each farm business to decide on the level of risk they want to have, it is critically important they fully understand the options and the consequences of not having full cover.
As part of their service a good broker will provide an annual review and carefully go through all the insured headings, also addressing any legislative changes in the year. They will also advise where it may be advantageous to add some insurance to a specific area.
A lot of claims issues often relate to sums insured and brokers can work through this, and will if necessary, arrange a proper survey of equipment to get the values right. If there is a claim this is important because it is not just the value of the buildings concerned, the loss adjusters will also want to satisfy themselves that the insurance is adequate for the total value of all buildings on farm. If not, they may scale the claim back.
Not so obvious is making sure the sums insured are adequate for the replacement of buildings and farm machinery, and that their uses are properly recorded. This is particularly imperative if you are contracting for a third party as it can change the insurance requirements.
Another point not to overlook is the extra seasonal risks. As we move into harvest, there are more people on farm, and it is important that you have the right insurance in place to protect against claims from third parties. This is in terms of both paying out any claims and also having the appropriate legal protection. We live in a litigious world and unfortunately legal costs are often substantial. Good legal protection insurance, which forms a relatively small part of the premium, is definitely advisable.
Finally another key factor to address is the effects of business interruption. Can you afford to be out of production for any length of time? How soon could you get your business back to where it was? These are important questions for any business, not just farming. Any claim can have significant consequences on the business, so when meeting with your broker it is important to consider insurance for both consequential loss and business interruption.
These are all questions your broker will want to go through at renewal and it is worth noting that with continual changes in circumstances and legislation the devil is in the detail. Farmers need to be experts in many fields, and the business protection that insurance brokers can advise on is a vital tool that the shrewd businessman would be wise to keep in reserve.
H&H Insurance Brokers were established in 1987 and have a heritage in the farming community and understand the industry better than most. They have now launched a free heath check for farm businesses which is available to all farmers and provides the chance for one of the H&H team, based at any of their three regional offices in Carlisle, Durham and Newtown St Boswells, to visit and talk though the insurance requirements for that business.
Ryan adds: “When I visit a farm for the first time I am often surprised what is missing when we review the insurance, and the farmers surprise at their businesses vulnerability should there be a claim and also how relatively easy and cost effective it is to fill in those gaps. We have now launched a free health check for any farmer, whether they are a customer or not, where one of the H&H team will go through the insurance with the farmer and make recommendations.
“It takes about two hours and it is something we are happy to do for anyone. It provides piece of mind and another set of eyes on their insurance a critical part of their business.
“Anyone who would like to take advantage of this free offer should contact the local office and we will arrange a mutually convenient time; there is absolutely no obligation to become a customer.”
To book your free insurance review contact your local office or T: 01228 406290