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Smallholders Face Big Risks

7th August 2018
Millie Nastali(left) helping Alpaca Breeder Di Davies (right) of Alpha Alpacas on her farm landscape

H&H Insurance Brokers reiterates how new developments in smallholder activity may expose farmers to hitherto unforeseen liabilities.

The usual insurance, taken out on small farms, covers death from accident, sickness or disease in livestock, and the limited consequences of theft. Often though, thought is not given to the increasing interaction with the general public that exposes farmers to new threats to their businesses.

The H&H Insurance Brokers Smallholders Public Liability Insurance, available throughout the UK, is designed specifically for smallholders with land ranging from half an acre to 50 acres, who are beginning to discover that their insurance needs are much more complex.

The risks farmers are exposed to includes a wider range of on and off-farm activities undertaken, by smallholders with their animals, and on their properties. A product of H&H Insurance Brokers, Armitage in-Livestock, has evolved to meet the new dangers to farmers that these bring with them.

This covers all general smallholding activities, and keeping animals, and while exhibiting the animals at shows or events in the United Kingdom.  Now that many owners are diversifying, the insurance also covers activities such as the public walking with alpacas, or taking alpacas to care homes, or even weddings.

“Smallholders Liability Insurance protects your animals and anyone who meets them,” says Jacinta Nastali, Business Development Manager.  “Several owners consider Public Liability Insurance simply because they are concerned about an animal escaping from the property and causing injury or damage. However, if someone is on your property and gets injured or becomes ill because of your negligence, you are the one who is liable.”

When people take their family into the country, most of them are simply curious and well meaning, but all of them represent a liability issue if they come into contact with a farm, or its livestock, whether on or off the land.

Jacinta continues, “This is true if they are on a public footpath across the farm, or have strayed into your property.”

Any member of the public could sue the owner for negligence if an injury occurs, so If individuals or organised groups come onto the farm, cover is essential, whether these are School groups, Scouts, Young Farmers, or Open Days for Families.  The visiting public should be properly briefed about the risks, in advance if possible and certainly as they arrive.

Jacinta warns about liability when animals stray off the farm: “In the case of an animal escaping, if you are lucky, swift recapture follows, the gate is shut or the fence is repaired, and no harm done. But if you are not, and the animal damages a car, or gets into someone’s garden, or hurts someone, then it is not the beast that gets the blame – it is you, the owner.”

It is also important to focus on prevention, and any insurance company expects smallholders or farmers to have made sure the fences, hedges and walls are reasonably stock proof, before they will pay out on any claims.  They will also need to take care to provide cattle warning signs, and make sure that footpaths are clear and safe to use.

To the owner, having to pay an insurance premium is sometimes perceived as ‘lost’ money.  However, a good business uses insurance to cushion against unexpected losses that could ruin it.  Often smallholders might be tempted to cut costs thinking their exposure is small, putting more than themselves at risk.

Jacinta concludes, “Covering all these risks is the purpose of Public Liability Insurance, and these days, no one can afford to be without adequate protection. Smallholders Public Liability is better for small farmers not requiring a Farm Combined Policy, which also covers barns, stables, and tractors, which may not be appropriate.  Armitage in-Livestock, has a long history in arranging bespoke insurances, and settling claims.”

For more information click here or contact Jacinta direct on email or T: 01932 856486