Farmers are being urged to adjust insurance policies in the face of increasing risk from extreme weather conditions, with lack of cover leading to potentially devastating losses on agricultural buildings and contents.
Storms Ciara and Dennis have highlighted the increasing vulnerability for rural communities and the agricultural industry, and farmers must be clear on the policies they hold, and make adjustments where necessary.
“A decade ago, the majority of farmers probably did not take up the option of flood and storm insurance as an add-on to their standard farm policy,” explains Nigel Wellings of independent insurance broker Acres Insurance Brokers.
“It is fair to say, that changing climatic conditions and the higher frequency of high intensity rainfall and storms across the country, and not just in traditional ‘high-risk’ areas, is meaning farmers must change that viewpoint and review their policies,” he adds.
Even if the farmer does hold flood and storm insurance on buildings, this does not necessarily cover the contents, including straw, crops and inputs, and may require another add-on to the policy.
“Farmers need to check the cover they hold, and make adjustments and additions if needed,” says Mr Wellings. “While we have seen a slight increase in premiums on flood and storm policies, it is still not expensive and can be critical in the event of a disaster.”
As there is no cover available in the UK for growing crops, including grass, it is imperative that suitable insurance is in place for the parts of the farm operation that can be covered.
“Insurance on growing crops is not likely to come to the UK, due to the costs. While it is available in some parts of Europe, and the USA and Canada, it is largely subsidised and match funded. This is not likely to happen in the UK, so we also advise and promote risk management to help alleviate damage where possible,” continues Mr Wellings.
Acres Insurance Brokers advises farmers to look at risk management, with simple practical solutions such as thinking about where straw or silage is stacked and stored.
“A bit of fore-thought can make a real difference,” says Mr Wellings. “Farmers should also consider drainage systems and capacity. It is an easy way to improve and add drainage systems yourself to help alleviate potential future problems.
As an independent broker geared towards supporting the rural community, Acres Insurance Brokers can advise on full farm policies, undertake policy reviews and adjust and add to storm and flood insurance cover.