Farming in a new era with FBD: Key points when choosing the right farm cover

Kate Tobin, chief underwriting officer at FBD Insurance, talks to James Taylor about FBD’s farm insurance, new cover enhancements and the key things to remember when choosing the right farm cover for you.

Tell me a bit about you and your role in FBD?

I joined FBD Insurance in 2018 and am part of the executive management team, with responsibility for underwriting, pricing and product development.

Having grown up on a farm in Co. Kilkenny, where I still live, I’m proud to work for FBD; being the only indigenous Irish Insurance company and with its close links to farming and rural communities.

FBD Farm Insurance

FBD Insurance was established over 50 years ago by farmers to protect their livelihoods. Today, farming remains just as important to the company and by staying close to our roots in farming, we have built up what we see as a unique understanding of the risks that farmers are exposed to in their operations.

This understanding allows FBD to offer a farm insurance product which offers sustainable and valuable protection.

An example of this can be seen in our family member protection which is now included as a standard cover under the employers liability section in our farm multiperil policy.

As I know all too well, there are busy times on the farm when it can be all hands on deck, calling in family members who don’t normally work on the farm to help out.

FBD’s family member protection means that if something unthinkable happens, FBD covers family members as if they were a farm employee.

Latest improvement to our product offering

FBD Insurance has recently written to all existing farm customers to advise them of new cover enhancements which came into effect from 23 May. Each of our farm customers have also received a new policy document which reflects the cover changes and is in an easier to understand format.

At FBD Insurance, we are always looking to improve our product offering. We do this by regularly reviewing our products to ensure they continue to be market leading, relevant and valuable for farmers.

As part of these reviews, we look at risks which are emerging from the changing nature of the farming enterprise. We also seek to learn from how farm insurance has evolved in other jurisdictions.

The feedback we regularly receive from our customers also helps us to understand areas where we can improve. For example, one particular area that we reviewed is the limit of indemnity, or the maximum amount we will pay out under the public liability part of the policy.

We have seen circumstances where the farmer is liable for catastrophic personal injury to members of the public; for example, if a serious car accident were to arise due to the escape of an animal onto the road.

The costs of these claims are increasing, not only due to a general increase in the levels of compensation awarded in the courts, but also because of medical advances. These are in general a very positive thing for society, but they do mean a higher cost of care for people with catastrophic injuries.

So, we at FBD could see the limit of €2.6m potentially not being adequate in the future and have increased this protection to €6.5m for farm policy holders.

Expanding Environmental Liability cover

Everyone has a responsibility to take care of the environment, with farmers in particular acting as custodians.

We have taken the opportunity to change how our policy caters for a pollution incident, expanding our liability cover to include environmental liability.

Unlike standard liability cover, FBD now provides a wider scope of cover to farmers to include gradual pollution, clean-up costs and specific remediation expenses as defined under the environmental liability regulations.

Farming is changing

Farming has never stood still and as farms evolve, the legal and regulatory environment has become more complex. Farmers may find that they lack the experience to deal with an issue themselves or the resources to pay a legal expert to handle queries.

FBD has developed a new service proposition which provides access to confidential telephone legal advice on a range of commercial and personal legal issues. In addition, specific cover is tailored to provide legal advice and associated costs for employment disputes to support the many farming customers now finding themselves in the role of employer.

Livestock and sheep worrying covers continue to be important protection for many farmers. Based on feedback from farmers we have enhanced the basis of settlement, or the rules relating to the payout of livestock and sheep worrying claims, enhancing this to market value plus 10% and 20% respectively.

This is to acknowledge the time and cost associated with the loss of animals and also to acknowledge that there can be knock on impacts; for example where sheep worrying incidents impact live birth rates in the flock over the remainder of the breeding season.

How much will this cost?

Existing customers who have the relevant policy sections active will benefit from the better cover mid-term from May 23 and no additional premium will apply.

The new covers are also available to customers who take out a new farm multiperil policy. We don’t foresee any impact on the total premium paid as a result of the introduction of these new covers.

We regularly review pricing and are conscious of keeping our product at a fair price and have a proven track record of offering sustainable pricing levels to farmers.

What should customers consider when choosing farm insurance?

A serious farm accident can put your farm and family’s livelihood at risk. I urge you to take the time to understand, listen and query the level of protection offered.

Make sure you’re getting advice from someone who knows and understands the risks that you’re exposed to and that your insurer has a proven track record of paying claims associated with the farming enterprise.

Where can people learn more about FBD Insurance?

To find out more about FBD’s farm multiperil product and the recent improvements to cover and what they mean for you, please contact one of FBD’s 34 nationwide branches, or by phone on: 01-7617617.

One of our insurance advisers is on hand to talk you through what this means for your farm.

FBD Insurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.