As a specialist in arranging insurance for livestock, mainly on alpacas, llamas, pedigree cattle and other farm animals plus smallholder’s liability – Jacinta Nastali gives us her opinion on why insurance is so important.
“To the owner, having to pay an insurance premium is ‘lost’ money. You pay out and get nothing in return, only a piece of paper. However, a good business depends on proper planning and budgeting. By incorporating the annual insurance premium into your business plan, you know the exact amount livestock losses would cost you, and you have cushioned yourself against unexpected subsequent losses of animals that could ruin your business.
The usual insurance we arrange on alpacas covers death from accident, sickness or disease, and limited theft. Generally, alpacas are considered quite hardy animals which is reflected in the insurance rate charged. For example, the annual rate to insure alpacas is 35% of that charged to insure pedigree cattle, and about 25% of the annual rate to insure sheep. However, where there is livestock, there will always be deadstock as well. Although alpacas are hardy, there will be deaths. Deaths occur due to several causes which include worm/parasite burden, liver problems, heart failure etc. And, of course, there is always the unexpected accident.
If you have a large schedule of alpacas you should look at the possibility of a deductible policy, where you can save money on the premium, but carry an excess, in the event of a claim.
The basic Mortality and Theft insurance can be extended to include permanent Economic Slaughter/Loss of Use for stud male alpacas. This additional insurance covers a stud male if he becomes permanently unable to be used to serve females due to an accident, illness or disease sustained or contracted during the policy period. For example, a hip injury may not be serious enough for a vet to advise that the slaughter of that animal on humane grounds is imperative. However, the injury may permanently prevent the alpaca being able to serve. In this case, the stud male would go from being your prized possession to purely a pet animal. The permanent Economic Slaughter/Loss of Use Extension of insurance would cover that eventuality.
When completing the Proposal Form (or renewal Declaration of Health Form) it is important not to forget any information regarding the animal’s health. It is much better to sort out a problem when you are trying to insure, rather than when you are trying to make a claim. Whilst on the subject of health, remember the policy obligation is to advise Insurers of any potential claims situation. A good general rule is that if you need to talk to a vet, then you need to tell your insurers.
Often people assume that because of the size of their business, they are too small to have the same liabilities that larger farmers have. They might be tempted to cut costs and corners, thinking their exposure to risk is small. However, what they are actually doing is putting more than themselves at risk.
Many of the smaller or medium sized breeders/owners have found it difficult to find an Insurer who will give liability cover as a “stand alone” insurance. Liability insurance has traditionally been arranged under a Farm Combined Policy which would include insurance on barns, stables, tractors etc. However, there are many breeders/owners who do not have farm buildings etc. These breeders/owners can now get Smallholders Public Liability Insurance for as little as £189.20 to give £1m limit of indemnity.
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 ill because of your negligence, you are liable.
An annual Public Liability Insurance would cover you for your general smallholding activities, keeping animals and while exhibiting your animals at shows/events in the United Kingdom. Now that many owners are diversifying, we also offer insurance for activities such as the public walking with alpacas, taking alpacas to care homes, weddings etc.
The Smallholders Public Liability insurance can be extended to include Employers Liability. If you have someone working under your instruction, whether paid or unpaid, you should have Employers Liability cover.
When enquiring about insurance, the first decision to be made concerns the insurer or broker to be used. Although the maxim “My Word is My Bond” may be a little rusty these days, at least make sure that when you want a word there is somebody at the other end of the telephone who knows what you’re talking about, especially if the word is going to be Claim. Armitage in- Livestock has a long history in arranging insurances and settling claims.
When I think back to about twenty years ago, when we were asked to arrange insurance on a shipment of alpacas from Chile, my initial question was “what is an alpaca?” Now the alpaca has become an integral part of the British countryside, and most certainly an important part of our working and social life, like so many of the alpaca owners.”
For more information or if you have an insurance requirement, please contact Jacinta via email or via her direct line on 01932 856486
Ends | 10th July 2018