South West rural insurance firm Cornish Mutual says the issue is ‘serious’ for the region’s agricultural industry and is urging farms to review their insurance cover more regularly or risk becoming financially worse-off should they need to make a claim.
The insurer, which has around 24,000 Members across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, is warning that the ‘sum insured’ should be up-to-date and accurate, because of spiralling markets and a fluctuation of stock and crop values on the farm.
Philip Wilson, Business Development Manager for Cornish Mutual, explains: “Most farmers usually look at their policies on a yearly basis, but because the cost of commodities such as red diesel, domestic fuel, oil, grain, chemicals, fertilisers and livestock are changing all the time, they need to take account of this and review them more often.
“Prices have soared at an unparalleled rate recently and farmers could find the actual value of their stocks and premises is significantly higher than the figure insured – checking cover only annually is no longer enough. If you make a mistake, it could have serious financial consequences.”
Philip adds, “We’re also seeing increasing investment in new machinery and buildings on the region’s farms and if farmers have bought equipment, perhaps a vehicle or piece of expensive kit recently, it’s important they speak to their insurer to make sure they‘re covered. If they don’t, they could find they are significantly underinsured when it’s too late.”
Andrew Bray (pictured) a farmer from The Lizard in Cornwall, recently invested in a new state-of-the-art dairy unit and turned to Cornish Mutual for help.
He says, “I wanted to make sure that we had the right level of insurance for the building when it was handed over to us. It was important to get advice from the beginning because it was a significant investment we were making.”
The new 33,000 square foot dairy complex took five months to build and includes computers, housing, feeding and handling facilities, calving pens and a viewing platform, as well as a milking parlour that can stand 28 cows at a time.
He adds, “As well as making sure the building had the right sum insured, the policy gave us the peace of mind that should the very worst happen, then we would be covered.”
Local Cornish Mutual Inspector Roger Hawkings, says, “Andrew did exactly the right thing – he made sure that he was properly insured under their policy for the new building and thought about it at an early stage.”
Cornish Mutual, which is based in Truro, has a team of locally-based insurance Inspectors across the South West who can provide professional expert advice. They can visit and work with farmers to review their needs and check that their sums insured are adequate.
For more information visit www.cornishmutual.co.uk
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