The importance of liability insurance for farmers

John Cahalan, chief commercial officer, FBD Insurance, discusses the importance of having adequate liability cover to protect your farm.

What should customers consider when choosing farm insurance?

Farming is the most dangerous occupation in Ireland and poses the greatest risk of death or serious injury of any workplace.

It is very important that all farming customers understand what insurance cover is provided for by their policy and to understand what risks they choose not to insure and the potential consequences of that decision.

Remember, not all insurance is the same and in order to make sure you are protected adequately you must take the time to understand, listen and query the level of protection being offered by your policy.

Getting advice from someone who knows and understands the unique risks which you are exposed to as a farmer is essential; as is, having an insurer with a proven track record of paying claims associated with the farming enterprise.

That’s why having a branch network with people who understand farming and farm insurance needs is so important for FBD. Our farming customers can drop in and discuss their insurance needs at any of our 34 branches with a local person they know and can trust.

What is Public Liability and why is it important for farmers to have?

Public Liability insurance covers legal liability for injury, disease or property damage caused to a member of the public arising from your farming activities. It is vital that you protect your assets to the best of your ability with the appropriate cover.

Remember, it’s not always about price but the depth of cover provided. If someone has an accident on your property, the resulting claim could be much greater than the value of your assets. If you own property or livestock, you have a liability and a duty of care to the public. Given this direct responsibility, it is vital that farmers have the correct covers in place.

It’s important to note that not all policies are the same; each individual policy wording will contain specific terms, conditions and exclusions so it is essential to familiarise yourself with the policy.

For example, look at public liability around farm outbuilding construction risks. FBD understands that farm outbuildings construction is a core activity of maintaining and developing a farm and as such is covered as standard under all farm multi-peril policies, where it may be excluded by other insurers.

The severity of construction-related incidents and the injuries associated with a fall from heights, many from as little as 4-6ft, cannot be under-estimated.

It is also worth highlighting the importance of ensuring that all contractors engaged by farmers have appropriate Employers’ Liability and Public Liability before commencing work, as failure to do so could result in a greater liability exposure for farmers.

For FBD customers, this protection is provided as standard as part of our farm multi-peril policy under Employer and Public Liability.

Do farmers need to have Employers’ Liability cover?

An increasing number of farmers are employing people in part-time and full-time roles. Employers’ Liability provides protection against legal liability for injury or disease caused to your employees during the course of their farming duties.

Farm safety is a real issue. Unfortunately, accidents do happen and we are all aware of the alarming number of injuries and fatalities which happen on Irish farms each year. Statistics from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) highlight that farming remains the most dangerous work sector in the country.

By law, every farmer with fewer than three employees must complete a risk assessment document and comply with the Farm Safety Code of Practice. Farmers with more than three employees must complete a Safety Statement. This regulation also applies to individuals working on a seasonal basis on the farm. FBD Insurance provides a standard limit of indemnity of €13 million.

Currently, we see a lot of farmers availing of additional help on the farm from family members who are at home as a result of the current Covid-19 situation. It’s absolutely critical for farmers to have cover in place for family members.

FBD Insurance uniquely provides Employers’ Liability cover for all farm family members once they reach the age of 14 who are engaging in work on the farm under the standard policy and there is no requirement to declare or name family members for this cover to operate.

As this is not a standard part of the Employers’ Liability product with all insurers, it is essential to check with your insurer to make sure that your family members are covered under your policy.

Is there any further advice you would offer?

I would ask all farmers to review any cover issues or queries with your local FBD branch. Also, if you are experiencing any difficulties as a result of Covid-19, please talk to us.

We are here to support farmers, tailor insurances to individual needs and ensure a positive customer experience.

I would strongly urge any farmers who maybe considering reducing elements of cover to weigh up the cost benefit in line with the additional risks and exposure they are incurring.

FBD Insurance’s farm liability protection allows farmers to trade with certainty, sure of the protection they are afforded. Inadequate liability is like a shed with no roof; when you need it most it may let you down.

For more information, visit your local FBD Insurance branch, or call: 01-7617-617; or just click here

FBD Insurance Group Ltd trading as FBD Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Farm Insurance is underwritten by FBD Insurance plc.