LATEST NEWS
06-06-2018

Are you insured correctly?


When did you last review your insurance and the limits of your policy?

For farms in particular, this should be reviewed annually and well in advance of your renewal date, ensuring that you are paying fair premiums for cover that is reflective of your farming activities and potential exposures.

What are the implications of being under insured?

If following a claim you are deemed to be underinsured, your insurer may apply the ‘average clause’, which essentially means that your claim could be reduced by the same percentage. For example, if the cost to rebuild or replace your farmhouse and outbuildings is £300k but you have taken out insurance that will cover you for only £200k, then you would effectively be underinsured by £100k or 35%. Any claim you make will only be paid on the basis of the amount of cover you chose. In this example your insurer would only cover 65% of the claim, leaving you to pay the remaining costs yourself.

Are you insured for the correct amount?

This figure needs to be enough to pay for the full costs of rebuilding the entire property, including walls, gates and fences; it also needs to be sufficient to include any potential demolition costs. The rebuild cost may be higher if you have a specialised property, such as a listed building. Don’t forget that like has to be replaced with like with a listed building - so it would be lathe and plaster for walls and ceilings, not plasterboard; rebuilding with cob and lime rendering are also more costly and usually specialists would be required to undertake this work.

Remember that under insurance doesn’t just apply to buildings and contents, perhaps the value of your livestock has increased. You may have bought specialist machinery or equipment, which not only needs insuring but could also have an impact of your business interruption cover dependent upon the time it would take to replace.

How can Mole Insurance Services help?

We all know that our premiums reflect the limits we set; our advice is to always set your cover accurately. The difference in premium might not be as great as you think, but the result of being underinsured could be devastating; resulting in increased delays and disruption at the time of a claim.

We endeavour to begin our review process four to six weeks prior to your renewal date and for farms, this often includes a pre-renewal meeting, to ensure that your insurance programme is suited to your current needs. Our Farming Account Managers would welcome a guided tour to learn about your business first hand, allowing us to identify any potential gaps in cover, helping us to create an insurance programme that’s right for you.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your insurances from your local Farming Account Manager, please call us on 0333 202 6504. Alternatively you can contact our Somerset office on 01278 228124.


02-04-2019

Is your farm protected against adverse weather?


When it comes to protection of your business, the weather can often act as one of the most challenging areas to prepare for throughout the year. In early March the South West was issued a red weather warning for snow, the first in the regions history, causing problems to farmers’  productivity across several counties.

When arranging your insurance, it’s important to consider various scenarios which could have a financial impact on your business; such as milk not being collected, or a situation that could result in a period of disruption such as storm damage to property. Firstly consider how you would respond in these situations and secondly discuss these scenarios with your insurance provider to ensure your insurance cover meets these needs and will respond in the event of you needing to make a claim. Our dedicated claims advisers have been responding to the significant increase in new claims; ranging from burst pipes, injured livestock, uncollected milk and parlour damage, and we continue to support our farmers’ right through to settlement. The lack of uncollected milk cover amongst farmers has been widely publicised, due to the hundreds of thousands of litres of fresh milk having to be discarded due to non-collection. It’s worth noting that the majority of dairies require their  farmers to have this cover in place.

Don’t be one of the many farmers without cover, check your documents or call your insurance adviser!


If you would like to review your farm and motor insurance; please contact Mole Insurance Services. We will tailor cover to meet your needs and will endeavour to offer competitive premiums.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your insurances with your local Farming Account Manager, please call us on 0333 2026504.


02-01-2019

Is your farmhouse adequately insured?


Your farmhouse is not only your home, in many cases it is a key part of your business, where discussions take place and decisions are made. When it comes to arranging your insurance, it’s just as important to have your farmhouse adequately covered as it is the other aspects of your business.

Underinsurance occurs when you have not taken out the appropriate insurance cover to meet your needs. There are occasions where individuals try to reduce their insurance premiums by only covering a percentage of their contents or building value. However, taking such a risk can have a detrimental effect should you need to make a claim.

The amount you insure your farmhouse for is something you must get right. This figure needs to be enough to pay for the full costs of rebuilding the entire property, including walls, gates and fences; it needs to be sufficient to include demolition costs too. The rebuild cost may be higher if you have a specialised property, such as a
listed building, or other special features that may be more difficult, more costly, or take longer to rebuild or repair than a standard property. Underinsurance can result in an inadequate claims settlement or no claims settlement at all. Get your sums insured right first time!

Your insurance adviser can assist you in getting the correct level of cover. Although it is not their responsibility to put a value on your farmhouse, they can help you understand how you should assess whether the cover is sufficient for your needs, offering you support, guidance and advice on what professional help may be available to you.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your insurances from your local Farming Account Manager, please contact Mole Insurance Services today on 0333 202 6504. Alternatively you can contact our Somerset office on 01278 228124.


02-12-2018

Be prepared for all conditions this Winter


There’s no denying that agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the UK. However during the winter months the risks will increase, with adverse weather bringing additional challenges. It is important to plan ahead to try and minimise these affects.

Look after yourself

  • Always consider your own safety – always tell someone where you are going and how long you intend to be away.
  • Dress for the weather – if on foot, or in a vehicle, ensure you have warm, suitable hi-vis clothing in case you are out for longer than expected due to incidents such as a breakdown.
  • Remain contactable – always take a fully charged mobile phone, so you can call for help.
  • Prepare for an emergency - consider carrying an emergency kit in your vehicle, in case you encounter a problem in bad weather. This should consist of a shovel, towrope, torch, fully charged mobile phone, de-icing equipment, a blanket and some emergency rations such as chocolate.

 

Summary

Taking time to put into practice some of the basics with your employees and family members, could reduce the risk of an accident occurring. Additional training and reminders are always a good idea in unpredictable weather. Planning and prevention is a great way to reduce the likelihood of you needing to make a claim on your insurance, which can have a negative impact on your premiums.


For further insurance advice, please call either our Holsworthy team on 0333 202 6504 or our Highbridge team on 01278 228124. If you are local, you are welcome to pop in and speak to one of our Farming Account Managers.


22-11-2017

Mole Insurance Services opens new office at Highbridge


Due to continued expansion, Mole Insurance Services are opening a further office based at the Somerset Enterprise Centre, near Highbridge, just off Junction 22 of the M5.

The new office will focus on providing customers with an independent insurance service, offering bespoke cover, competitive premiums and a fully managed claims service. Initially, the branch will open with our local Farming Account Manager Clare Quick and a new addition to the team, Sharon Buckingham. Both Clare and Sharon hold their Dip CII insurance qualifications and have expertise in agricultural insurance.

Many of you will have already met Clare at local stores and agricultural shows, either discussing insurance or showing her own cattle. With over twenty years of experience in the insurance industry including seven in agricultural insurance, Clare is well placed to advise clients on all aspects of farm and motor insurance.


Cheryl Phillips, Head of Mole Insurance Services comments “The office opening is in response to the increased level of enquiries being received from farmers in Somerset. We now have the insurance expertise and farming knowledge to provide a first class service to our clients.”


If you are local to the Somerset Enterprise Centre, please call into our new office, or telephone 01278 228124. Alternatively, you can visit our team at the Holsworthy store, or contact 0333 202 6504 to arrange a review of your insurance.


11-10-2017

Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance


Introduced in the 1970’s, Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance (EIL) was made available as part of the government’s strategy to clamp down on companies polluting the environment with hazardous waste. The Environmental Damage Regulations (EDR) became effective in 2009, ensuring that the ‘polluter pays’, making businesses that cause environmental damage liable for the consequences.

As a farmer you are responsible for reducing pollution on your land. With most agricultural businesses there is a risk that your practices and activities may cause environmental damage. If pollutants such as fuel or pesticides aren’t handled properly, or silage and milk isn’t stored correctly, the results can have a serious impact on the countryside. Costs incurred through a pollution event can be expensive running into the thousands or even hundreds of thousands; Therefore ensuring you have the correct level of cover has never been so important.

What does EIL with Mole Insurance Services cover?

Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance covers the cost of repairing environmental damage. Actions can result in both common law claims and claims arising from UK and EU legislation.

In particular, EIL can provide cover for:

  • Both sudden pollution and gradual pollution. In some instances, it can take months, sometimes years before the full impact on the environment becomes apparent.
  • First party (own site) clean-up costs imposed by the Environment agency
  • Third party liability
  • Nuisance claims such as reports of offensive smells or odours
  • Legal costs and expenses
  • Standard Limit of Indemnity of £1million on a standard Farm Combined policy* (*A policy summary highlighting the significant benefits and limits of cover is issued with every quotation).

Sticking to good practices is essential in every business, but even more so in the agricultural industry. There are many procedures you can put in place to reduce the risk; with the help of Rural Insurance we’ve put together some helpful tips:

 

Summary

The costs incurred through a pollution event can be unexpected and significant. At Mole Insurance Services we understand that your farm is your livelihood and having the correct level of cover in place is essential. To request a quotation, or to understand how this cover could help to protect you and your business, please contact our team on 0333 202 6504. If you are local to the Holsworthy store, you are welcome to call into our office.

 


13-09-2017

Rural Protect: Protection in the event of an investigation or prosecution from the HSE



There’s been an accident at your farm. One of your workers has fallen from a ladder resulting in a serious back injury. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has begun a criminal investigation, alleging that you failed to ensure that work at height had been correctly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

As the HSE operates a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

At £129 per hour, Fee For Intervention begins from the start of the visit during which a material breach is discovered, to the point when the HSE has concluded any necessary intervention. Depending on the nature of this action, this could come at great financial cost to you.

Through your existing insurance arrangements you may already have a Commercial Legal Expenses policy but it is likely to only provide you with very limited cover, for example:


1. A ‘prospects of success clause’ meaning that in the opinion of the insurer you must have a 51% chance of winning any case before they will act for you.


2. Only cover you against a limited number of enforcement agencies.

What makes Rural Protect different?

Because Rural Protect is responsive to industry changes, it accounts for costly FFI payments, so that the whole process of investigation and action from regulatory
bodies, not just part of it, can be absorbed by the cover within your insurance policy*. Most importantly, Rural Protect does not have a ‘prospects of success clause’ therefore it will help to defend and support if you are faced with investigations, prosecutions and warnings from any of the UK regulators, including the HSE.

Rural Protect is also supported by leading law firm rradar, who can offer guidance through any regulatory action you might be facing, as well delivering proactive support via a wealth of online resources. You will receive legally privileged advice, meaning that any legal matters you discuss with rradar will remain strictly confidential. This allows you to seek legal advice and professional assistance in confidence, a vital asset when it comes to planning a defence or discussing the best course of action.


Whilst we initially only offered Rural Protect to those clients reviewing and arranging their farm insurance with us, we can now provide quotations and advice as a standalone policy for members of Mole Valley Farmers. Premiums are very competitive and start at £188 (inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax), based on a limit of indemnity of £100,000 for a business with a turnover up to £500,000. (*A policy summary highlighting the significant benefits and limits of cover is issued with
every quotation.)

To request a quotation, or to understand how this cover could help to protect you and your business, please call 0333 202 6504. If you are local to the Holsworthy store, you are welcome to call into our office.


16-08-2017

On farm safety - A priority!


The most serious accidents on the farm involve machinery, often during routine maintenance or while unblocking snags. Some incidents happen when machines are used for a job which it is unsuitable for. Others because safety guards have been neglected, lack of training or through ‘corner cutting’ by the operator. Purchasing machinery is easily one of the biggest investments you will make on the farm and the success of your business can depend on it doing the job well and safely.

Whilst deaths and injuries in most other industries have been declining, figures for the farming sector have remained fairly similar for the last few years. The HSE has suggested the reasons for this include more farmers having to work alone, more powerful machinery and an ageing work force. So please take care and take the HSE pledge: “Make the promise - come home safe!”

Safety tips to help reduce the risks to yourself and your workers:

  • Make sure the machine is suitable for the job you are undertaking. For example, do not use a bale spike to lift and move anything other than bales.
  • Do not take short cuts during routine maintenance and unblocking (such as kicking trapped debris from the machine). Conduct a thorough assessment and be familiar with the way the machinery works and the possible risks. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidance when carrying out any work.
  • You should have a system in place to check that all work equipment and machinery is safe to use. Have a strict reporting policy that requires any concerns about faulty machinery are reported immediately and taken out of action.
  • Inspect equipment regularly for deterioration, such as corrosion and rusting. Keep thorough records of all inspections, as they may be needed in the event of an incident.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for equipment. Do not assume its operation is the same as similar machinery. Ensure that everyone on the farm is familiar and confident with the operation, along with the necessary safety procedures and features.
  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit nearby and ensure you have first aid trained workers on-site should any accidents or incidents occur.
  • Always wear the appropriate protective and high-viz clothing when operating and working around machinery.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your insurances from your local Farming Account Manager, please contact Mole Insurance Services today on 0333 202 6504.


28-07-2017

Is it time to review your farm and fleet insurances?


We’re under no illusion that reviewing your farming insurances isn’t always a top priority when it comes to running your farm. We also understand that it’s often  easier to simply renew your insurances for another year. However with insurance costs being a key expense to any farm, surely it’s worth the time to review? Check you are paying a fair premium but to also ensure that your cover is still adequate and on the correct basis.

We’ve put together a checklist of questions to consider as you approach your renewal date:

1. Has any aspect of your business changed? Many of our farming clients are diversifying into new areas, to generate additional income, such as renewables and self-catering accommodation. It is important to double check that policies provide cover for these diversifi cations. Your business description shown on your insurance documents should also reflect these activities.

2. Are you confi dent that your buildings are insured for the correct amount - perhaps you’ve erected a new farm building? Selecting the correct sums insured could delay a potential claim, resulting in further expense and disruption.

3. Have any of your vehicles changed in value? Changes to values will affect your renewal premium; some vehicles such as an old vintage tractor may have gone up in value, whilst other vehicles may have lost value.

4. Are you adequately protected in the event of a business interruption? This is often where we identify a potential gap in cover for our farming clients, as it’s one of the most complicated areas of farm insurance, particularly where you have a multitude of activities on one farm. However it can make a big impact in the event of a major loss, as it’s designed to maintain the turnover of the business during its indemnity period, allowing you to continue to trade as normal. Ask your insurance provider to explain how it works and the potential impact of not having the cover in place, allowing you to make an informed choice.

5. Are you adequately protected in the event of an investigation from one of the many regulators? Through your existing insurance arrangements you may already have a Commercial Legal Expenses policy in force, but this is likely to provide very limited cover. Our Farming Account Managers recommend ‘Rural Protect’ which unlike a legal expenses policy does not have a “prospects of success clause”, will help to defend and support you if you are faced with investigations, prosecutions and warnings from any of the UK regulators*.

6. Are you aware of your claims history over the past three years and any final settlement costs? If in doubt ask for a copy of your claims history, as claims costs will impact your premiums. Not only are insurers looking at overall costs but also trends as to the frequency and types of claims.

7. Are you able to demonstrate a positive approach to health and safety? With health and safety regulations becoming more important in the agricultural industry, it is important that you protect your employees and reduce any potential accidents on the farm. Insurers are now offering more favourable rates for farms that can show precautions have been taken, such as if having carried out risk assessments.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your farm and motor insurances, please contact us on 0333 2026504.

 


13-07-2017

Tips to Stay Safe this Summer


It’s that time of year when we are all busy silaging, hay making and drilling our maize.Everything seems to come at once, especially when the weather suddenly improves. Here’s a little reminder to make sure we remain safe during our busy periods.

1. The long hours can increase the chance of an accident occurring. Remember child safety on farms is paramount during these busy periods. No child under the age of 13 years should be carried in the cab of a tractor or forager.

2. Check the experience of drivers operating machinery they are using. If it is deemed they are not competent and you have let them drive/operate machinery, then you could be held responsible in the event of an accident.

3. Never overfi ll a silage pit, if the silage is above the walls it will increase the chances of machinery overturning. It is never advisable for anybody to go under the silage cover to retrieve a tyre whilst the cover is being fixed. The fermenting grass uses up the oxygen in the air quickly and will release harmful gases.

4. If you are using contractors, it is always wise to make them aware of any overhead power cables, especially when foragers are being used.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your insurances from your local Farming Account Manager, please contact us today on 0333 2026504.


15-03-2017

The Unexpected Interruption to your Business


For most farmers, the thought of the annual insurance review can be an apprehensive time. This might be because you are thinking about the forthcoming renewal premium but also because the words and phrases involved at renewal can be complex.

One of those very confusing terms is Business Interruption, which can quite often be overlooked or just misunderstood. This is an incredibly complicated area of farm insurance which can be made more difficult where you have a multitude of business activities on one farm. In essence, it involves predicting how your business will perform over the next 12-24 months, calculating the projected income.

Under your farm insurance there would be cover for damage to property*, but this doesn’t include any losses in income to your business, as a result of the damage. Business Interruption is designed to maintain the turnover of the business during its indemnity period, so it can continue to trade as normal.

Types of Business Interruption claims (All true case studies)

  • Half a herd of milking goats are stolen overnight - Not only is it very difficult to replace goats which are ready to be milked, but the milk cheque immediately decreased. The Business Interruption cover picked up the loss of milk income until new goats had been sourced.
  • A combine harvester catches fire in the middle of harvesting - The motor insurance would provide cover for the combine, but one is required to be hired in before the weather changes. The Business Interruption cover picks up the hiring costs for the temporary hire.
  • Just before lambing is about to start, the lambing shed suffers storm damage and the roof is blown off - The property insurance will provide cover for the shed if storm damage cover is in force. The Business Interruption cover would cover the costs of moving the ewes, new bedding, feed and alternative housing.

With all the above cases, specific covers were in force. That is where we at Mole Insurance can guide you through the tricky process of selecting the individual covers to suit your farms individual needs. If you have any questions or queries regarding Business Interruption cover, please contact our team on 0333 202 6504.

*a policy summary highlighting the significant benefits and limitations in cover is issued with every quotation.


16-11-2017

Mole Insurance Services opens new office at Highbridge


Due to continued expansion, Mole Insurance Services are opening a further office based at the Somerset Enterprise Centre, near Highbridge, just off Junction 22 of the M5.

The new office will focus on providing customers with an independent insurance broking service, offering bespoke cover, competitive premiums and a fully managed claims service.

Initially, the branch will open with our local Farming Account Manager Clare Quick and a new addition to the team, Sharon Buckingham. Both Clare and Sharon hold their Dip CII insurance qualifications and have expertise in agricultural insurance.

Many of you will have already met Clare at local stores and agricultural shows, either discussing insurance or showing her own cattle. With over twenty years of experience in the insurance industry including seven in agricultural insurance, Clare is well placed to advise clients on all aspects of farm and motor insurance.

Cheryl Phillips, Head of Mole Insurance Services comments “The office opening is in response to the increased level of enquiries being received from farmers in Somerset. We now have the insurance expertise and farming knowledge to provide a first class service to our clients.”

If you are local to the Somerset Enterprise Centre, please call into our new office, or contact the team on 01278 228124.


18-10-2017

Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance


Introduced in the 1970’s, Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance (EIL) was made available as part of the government’s strategy to clamp down on companies polluting the environment with hazardous waste. The Environmental Damage Regulations (EDR) became effective in 2009, ensuring that the ‘polluter pays’, making businesses that cause environmental damage liable for the consequences.

As a farmer you are responsible for reducing pollution on your land. With most agricultural businesses there is a risk that your practices and activities may cause environmental damage. If pollutants such as fuel or pesticides aren’t handled properly, or silage and milk isn’t stored correctly, the results can have a serious impact on the countryside. Costs incurred through a pollution event can be expensive running into the thousands or even hundreds of thousands; Therefore ensuring you have the correct level of cover has never been so important.

What does EIL with Mole Insurance Services cover?

Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance covers the cost of repairing environmental damage. Actions can result in both common law claims and claims arising from UK and EU legislation.

In particular, EIL can provide cover for:

Both sudden pollution and gradual pollution. In some instances, it can take months, sometimes years before the full impact on the environment becomes apparent.

First party (own site) clean-up costs imposed by the Environment Agency

Third party liability

Nuisance claims such as reports of offensive smells or odours

Legal costs and expenses

Standard Limit of Indemnity of £1million on a standard Farm Combined policy*

* A policy summary highlighting the significant benefits and limits of cover is issued with every quotation.

Sticking to good practices is essential in every business, but even more so in the agricultural industry. There are many procedures you can put in place to reduce the risk; with the help of Rural Insurance we’ve put together some helpful tips:

  • Carefully plan all storage and handling arrangements for all potential pollutants
  • Keep a suitable distance from watercourses (including ditches) and drinking water supplies when handling or applying fertilisers or chemicals.
  • Make sure run-off from your farmyard, ring feeder areas and hard standings don't discharge directly to a watercourse.
  • Don't employ contractors or companies in waste spreading, unless they are trained and are planning to follow guidance in line with legal requirements.
  • Be aware that even if it is not directly your fault (for example, if a burglar accidentally damages a slurry tank which pollutes a nearby river), you are the polluter and so are liable for any damages.

19-09-2017

Rural Protect: Protection in the event of an investigation or prosecution from the HSE


 

There’s been an accident at your farm. One of your workers has fallen from a ladder resulting in a serious back injury. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has begun a criminal investigation, alleging that you failed to ensure that work at height had been correctly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

As the HSE operates a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

At £129 per hour, Fee For Intervention begins from the start of the visit during which a material breach is discovered, to the point when the HSE has concluded any necessary intervention. Depending on the nature of this action, this could come at great financial cost to you.

Through your existing insurance arrangements you may already have a Commercial Legal Expenses policy but it is likely to only provide you with very limited cover, for example:

  1. A ‘prospects of success clause’ meaning that in the opinion of the insurer you must have a 51% chance of winning any case before they will act for you.
  2. Only cover you against a limited number of enforcement agencies.

What makes Rural Protect different?

Because Rural Protect is responsive to industry changes, it accounts for costly FFI payments, so that the whole process of investigation and action from regulatory
bodies, not just part of it, can be absorbed by the cover within your insurance policy*. Most importantly, Rural Protect does not have a ‘prospects of success clause’ therefore it will help to defend and support if you are faced with investigations, prosecutions and warnings from any of the UK regulators, including the HSE.

Rural Protect is also supported by leading law fi rm rradar, who can offer guidance through any regulatory action you might be facing, as well delivering proactive support via a wealth of online resources. You will receive legally privileged advice, meaning that any legal matters you discuss with rradar will remain strictly confidential. This allows you to seek legal advice and professional assistance in confi dence, a vital asset when it comes to planning a defence or discussing the best course of action.

Whilst we initially only offered Rural Protect to those clients reviewing and arranging their farm insurance with us, we can now provide quotations and advice as a standalone policy for members of Mole Valley Farmers. Premiums are very competitive and start at £188 (inclusive of Insurance Premium Tax), based on a limit of indemnity of £100,000 for a business with a turnover up to £500,000. (*A policy summary highlighting the significant benefits and limits of cover is issued with every quotation.)

To request a quotation, or to understand how this cover could help to protect you and your business, please call 0333 202 6504. If you are local to the Holsworthy store, you are welcome to call into our office.


20-03-2017

Government Announces Change to Personal Injury Discount Rate


When victims of life-changing injuries accept a lump sum compensation payment, the actual amount they receive is adjusted according to the interest they can expect to earn by investing it.

In addition, when finalising this amount, the Courts apply a Personal Injury Rate, also known as ‘Ogden’ or ‘Discount’ rate, designed to help calculate future losses for life (such as care costs) and future loss of earnings. The rate is applied using multipliers specific to each claimant taking into account their age and other factors such as their education, retirement age and life expectancy.

Last month the Lord Chancellor announced that commencing 20th March 2017, changes to these personal injury compensation payments, adjusting the rate from 2.5% to -0.75%. This rate change will dramatically increase the amount paid out for personal injury cases. For example, a £750,000 settlement due to a 43 year old claimant at the previous 2.5% discount rate, will increase to a compensation sum of £1,250,000 once the new rate is introduced.

The current rate of 2.5% has remained unchanged since 2001, therefore, the new proposed rate has been amended to reflect the current financial market and the likely return on investment. As I’m sure you have seen in the news and media, such a change will have an impact on insurance premiums. Whilst information is still coming through, I’m pleased to say that the farming insurers appear to be looking for lower than average increases in comparison to the rest of the insurer market. That said we will know more in the coming months, but rest assured that this is an industry issue affecting all insurers.

Many of the industry representatives including BIBA and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) are lobbying hard to reduce the significant impact on the discount rate. We are members of BIBA and will continue to work with the association and our insurer partners to understand the impact on premiums going forward.

However, if you have any immediate concerns or wish to discuss your policy with a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 0333 2026504


25-05-2017

Government Rate Increase to Insurance Premium Tax


In November 2015, we saw an increase of 3.5% to the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), increasing the rate from 6% to 9.5%, then in October 2016 IPT increased 10%.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced a further increase of the standard rate from 10% to 12% with effect from the 1st June 2017. This instruction has been cascaded throughout the UK Insurance Industry.

Standard Rate IPT:
The rate increase is applicable to the standard rate of IPT only.

The higher rate of IPT which is charged for travel insurance, mechanical/electrical appliance insurance and some vehicle insurance, remains unchanged at 20%.

IPT Exemptions:
There are a number of exemptions from IPT, including:

  • most long-term insurance
  • reinsurance
  • insurance for commercial ships and aircraft
  • insurance for commercial goods in international transit
  • premiums for risks located outside the UK - these may be liable to similar taxes imposed by other countries


Mid Term Adjustments:
HMRC have not allowed a transition period.  They have allowed a backstop date of 1st June 2018 until which transactions effective prior to 1st June 2017 can be processed at the old IPT rate of 9.5%.

  • All additional premium MTAs on policies that incepted or renewed before 1st June 2017: 10% IPT.
  • All additional premium MTAs on policies that incepted or renewed on or after 1st June 2017: 12% IPT.
  • Return premium should be at the IPT rate paid originally by the customer, which is often the IPT rate at inception or renewal.

For the majority of our clients the standard rate of IPT will apply. The majority of insurers appear to be taking the same approach when implementing the rate increase on their systems. The rate applied to your renewal or any subsequent amendments to cover, will be clearly shown on your policy documentation. However, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of the team here at Mole Insurance Services.


21-10-2016

Government Rate Increase to Insurance Premium Tax


In November 2015, we saw an increase of 3.5% to the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), increasing the rate from 6% to 9.5%.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have announced a further increase of the standard rate from 9.5% to 10% with effect from the 1st October 2016.  

Standard Rate IPT:

The rate increase is applicable to the standard rate of IPT only.

The higher rate of IPT which is charged for travel insurance, mechanical/electrical appliance insurance and some vehicle insurance, remains unchanged at 20%.

 IPT Exemptions:

There are a number of exemptions from IPT, including:

  • most long-term insurance
  • reinsurance
  • insurance for commercial ships and aircraft
  • insurance for commercial goods in international transit
  • premiums for risks located outside the UK - these may be liable to similar taxes imposed by other countries

 Transitional Period:

This period runs from 1st October 2016 until 31st January 2017. This is applicable to insurers who use the Special Accounting Scheme, under which the tax point for IPT is the date an insurer writes the premium in their records. This allows insurers to write premium for policies that have incepted or renewed prior to 1st October 2016 at the old rate, provided it is processed on their systems by 31st January 2017.

New Business and Renewal of Policies:                                                                                                             

  • Inception/renewal date before 1st October 2016: 9.5%
  • Inception/renewal date on or after 1st October 2016: 10%

 Mid Term Adjustments:

Refund Premiums with effective date on or after 1st October 2016:

  • Policies incepted or renewed before 1st November 2015: 6%
  • Policies incepted or renewed after 1st November 2015 and before 1st October 2016: 9.5%
  • Policies incepted or renewed on or after 1st October 2016: 10%

Additional Premiums:

  • Policies incepted or renewed before 1st October 2016 and effective date of MTAs before 31st January 2017: 9.5%
  • Policies incepted or renewed on or after 1st October 2016: 10%  

From 1st February 2017, the new 10% IPT rate will apply to all premiums, regardless of when the contract was entered into. For the majority of our clients the standard rate of IPT will apply. The majority of insurers appear to be taking the same approach when implementing the rate increase on their systems. The rate applied to your renewal or any subsequent amendments to cover will be clearly shown on your policy documentation. However, if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of the team here at Mole Insurance Services.


19-10-2016

The Insurance Act 2015


The Insurance Act 2015 will govern every business insurance contract placed, renewed or amended on or after 12th August 2016. If you are purchasing insurance for your business then you are affected by the changes the Act requires of you in how you apply for your insurance cover.

Modernisation of the law to bring it in line with modern business practices is a key intention of the reform. Part of its aim is also to encourage dialogue and practices which support the understanding of risk.

When applying for your insurance, the traditional requirements for good faith and ensuring the accuracy of material information continue but this is expanded into a broader ranging requirement for a ‘fair presentation of risk’ which requires you to undertake a reasonable search for information pertinent to the risk and the insurance applied for.

The insurance policy contract itself, due to the Act, will change the way in which warranties and other contract terms will operate.

At Mole Insurance Services we are keen to work with you to ensure you are aware of your obligations under the Act. We will help and guide you in your endeavours to achieve fair presentation. We will also advise you on the changes in how your insurance policy will operate and the effect this may have upon your business as part of our making recommendations to you.

For further initial guidance on achieving fair presentation of risk, click here to download the BIBA Customer Factsheet. 

To read legislation in full, please click here.


12-07-2016

Machinery and Plant Safety in the Summer


Fire Risks

The summer months bring a flurry of activity, as farmers make the most of the long and hopefully dry days, undertaking activities such as haymaking, harvesting crops and replanting, or preparing silage to feed livestock in the winter months. As with most activities, the use of plant and machinery is inevitable. Mark Jones, Claims Manager for Rural Insurance advises, “We’ve seen a steady increase in fire claims, over recent years. The most common type of claim we see at this time of year is from machinery catching light due to overheating”.

Preventative Measures:

  • Make sure all machinery is serviced in advance of starting your harvest. Although it can seem like another expense, the cost of any interruption to your harvest resulting from a breakdown, or worse a fire, could be detrimental to your business.
  • It may sound obvious but at the end of a long day, do not put warm machinery into a barn until it has cooled down, particularly if it contains hay. You may think this an unlikely practice, however claims have occurred as a result of this.

Staying safe when using machinery:

Many serious and sometimes fatal accidents have involved the use of agricultural machinery and vehicles including tractors, balers, combine harvesters and even quad bikes. It is vital as a business owner to have safety measures in place that are communicated and regularly reviewed with all employees. We would also recommend that all training is logged and recorded. This should form part of your role to manage potential risks on your farm.

In accordance with the HSE, we recommend that prior to using plant or machinery, these checks should be carried out:

  • Is the machine you intend to use suitable for the job?
  • Are all safety devices such as guards in place and working correctly?
  • Are you (or the operator) properly trained to do this job/use this machine? Has the instruction manual for the machine been provided, read and understood?
  • Is the right personal protective equipment (PPE) available and worn
  • Has a risk assessment been carried out?
  • Has the work been properly planned and communicated to those who may be at risk?
  • If two or more people are involved, has everyone understood what needs to be done and has a system of communication been agreed on?

If risk assessments and regular training is provided, this checklist should not delay you in your work, it’s a matter of making sure you can confidentially answer ‘yes’ to the above and have the peace of mind that you are putting the safety of employees, family and yourself first.

For further advice or to arrange a review of your farm insurance,please contact us on 0333 202 6510.

 


09-05-2016

Farm Safety


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regularly reports that the Agricultural sector is now the number one industry for accidents in the workplace, having overtaken the construction industry. According to the HSE website, there were 33 fatal injuries in 2014/15to workers in agriculture, with 160 worker fatalities over the last five years. The ability to demonstrate a responsible and proactive approach to risk management can also have a positive impact on your insurance premiums. Having controls and processes in place to avoid things going wrong should ultimately lead to fewer losses and fewer claims resulting in lower increases at renewal, in addition to providing a safer workplace for employees, family and visitors.

If you’re planning on reviewing your insurances with us; talk openly and honestly with our Farming Account Managers about your health and safety procedures and we will do our best to assist you.

Here’s a checklist to help get you started:

  • Is plant and machinery properly fenced, guarded and maintained? The HSE reported that over half of injuries sustained on farms from livestock are due to inadequate facilities.
  • Are telehandlers, hoists, boilers, steam containers and other pressure vessels inspected to comply with statutory law requirements, including lifting accessories and tackle?
  • Do you have someone working on the farm responsible for health and safety in the workplace and are they adequately trained?
  • Do you have a written Health and Safety policy? Is this communicated to employees?
  • Do you have an up to date accident register? Are there any patterns emerging and have you taken action to avoid similar accidents happening in the future?
  • Do you have a log of the training provided to your employees and most importantly do you regularly reaffirm that training?
  • Do you complete and regularly review risk assessments? They’re easier than you think, it’s about applying a common sense approach by simply considering the possible hazards and putting safety practices in place to minimise the risk of accident or injury.

To help you prioritise, here are the most common causes of non-fatal injuries which occur on farms:

  • handling, lifting or carrying
  • slip, trip or fall on the same level
  • being struck by moving, including flying or falling objects
  • falls from heights
  • contact with machinery
  • being injured by an animal

Having a proactive approach to risk management on your farm, should be viewed as a priority, not a hindrance. In the event that something does go wrong, being able to evidence how you manage risk is paramount.

To ensure that you are appropriately protected for the activities you undertake, arrange a review with our Farming Account Managers. Contact our team on 0333 2026504.


19-01-2016

Pavey Group unveils expansion plans with Mole Valley Farmers


Leading South West Broker in agricultural and rural insurance opens new office in Holsworthy.

Pavey Group has announced a major expansion of its insurance service offered to customers of Mole Valley Farmer co-operative.

The company, which incorporates Mole Insurance Services and has offices in Torquay and Exeter, will establish a new specialist office at Mole Valley Farmers’ Holsworthy location, as part of their close and growing working relationship.

The team will focus on providing customers in and around the surrounding areas with a tailored insurance service, which offers competitive premiums, and a fully managed claims service.

Initially the branch will open with four members of staff which will include two highly experienced Account Managers who have particular expertise in arranging and managing both commercial and agricultural insurances.

   

Graham Brown, Managing Director of Pavey Group, said: “We are delighted to be expanding Mole Insurance Services. This is a real sign of our commitment to providing a credible alternative to the existing agricultural insurance markets and another major step forward in the growth of Pavey Group.

“By working with Mole Valley Farmers, it is an opportunity to expand our agricultural and commercial services in Devon and beyond and for Mole Valley Farmers to provide another tailored service to their loyal customer base. Our combined expertise and focus on the customer should make us a strong player in this market.

“A key driver for this announcement is the success we’ve already seen with Mole Insurance Services since we launched this service in 2014. In less than two years we’ve received over 1500 enquiries and already built a strong customer base. We have enjoyed a long standing, professional relationship with the Farming Co-Operative for over 12 years, and look forward to working with them on this exciting opportunity.”

Andrew Jackson, CEO of Mole Valley Farmers comments “I am pleased that Pavey Group incorporating Mole Insurance are now going to be here in Holsworthy. Farm customers will be able to discuss their insurance needs at their convenience with an insurance broker that understands farming and can provide a competitive quote based on that clear understanding of the customers’ requirements”

Pavey Group, which has 98 staff based in Devon, has been arranging insurance for businesses and individuals in the South West and beyond for over forty years. The company is a Top 100 Independent Broker in the UK and in 2015 was awarded ‘Chartered Insurance Broker’ Status by the Chartered Institute of Insurance.

Cheryl Philips, Pavey Group Sales and Marketing Manager, said: “The new office allows us to proactively respond to the increased level of enquiries we are receiving, which for farms includes an on-site review and dedicated Account Manager lead service. For other insurances such as smallholding, commercial motors, public liability, property owners, equine, home and car; clients can either continue to contact us by calling our existing telephone number or alternatively are welcome to call into the office to discuss their individual requirements with the team.”

The new office at Holsworthy will open on Monday 1st February initially from their temporary office 6 Bank House, Chapel Street, Holsworthy, moving to their permanent office late Spring, early Summer.

 


08-12-2015

Environmental Impairment Liability


As a farmer, smallholder or landowner, you could be held responsible for pollution arising from your activities either in the past, present or future, resulting in a significant financial loss. On a daily basis it is not uncommon for you to be working with pollutants such as fuel, fertilisers, silage, milk or slurry and with pollution cases on the rise, ensuring you have the correct level of cover has never been greater.

What does EIL cover?

Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance covers the cost of repairing environmental damage. Actions can result in both common law claims, and claims arising from UK and EU legislation.

In particular, EIL can provide cover for:

  • Both sudden pollution and gradual pollution
  • First party (own site) clean-up costs imposed by the Environment Agency
  • Third party liability
  • Nuisance claims such as reports of offensive smells or odours
  • Legal costs and expenses

Mole Insurance Services understand the importance of supporting you in the event of a claim. Our fully managed claims service can be instrumental in the smooth handling of any potential loss.

Claims do occur:

Whilst the number of environmental liability claims remains relatively low at present, the costs are significant. We are however warned by insurers that they anticipate increased volumes in the coming years’, we are advised by leading farm insurer Rural that the claims example shared below, is deemed relatively low cost compared to most.

An underground slurry tank leaked into a watercourse, the slurry travelled downstream killing thousands of fish. It travelled past a holiday camp but fortunately no campers were bathing in the river, and the contaminated water did not escape into the holiday park system.

The Environment Agency were employed to carry out the clean-up operation, all costs are covered by the client’s Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance, the current reserve sits at £300,000, the client paid an excess of £1000. Had the contamination spread to the holiday park the claim costs would have increased considerably.

To ensure that you are appropriately protected for the activities you undertake, arrange a review with our Farming Account Managers. Contact our team on 0333 2026504.


19-10-2015

When did you last review your Farm Insurance?


As we find ourselves in what is one of the biggest renewal quarters for farming insurance, we ask ‘Are you adequately covered and are you paying a fair premium for your insurances’?

With this in mind we’ve put together a checklist of things you could do to prepare for an insurance review?

What is the current rebuild cost of your home and farm buildings?

Setting the correct sums insured means a loss can be covered in its entirety and not suffer the application of average which could be applied. Inappropriate sums insured could delay a potential claim, resulting in further expense and disruption. This is not about increasing premiums rather, ensuring that you have the correct amount of protection in place.

Does your current policy include recently purchased livestock, machinery and plant?

If not make a list of what you think may not be covered, and we will review cover options with you.

Are you aware of your claims history, particularly incident that have occurred over the past three years, and has your insurer kept you updated with settlement costs?

If in doubt, ask for a copy of your claims history or we can obtain this information on your behalf. It is important you have a good understanding of your claims history to help our Farming Account Managers from the outset. Non-Disclosure of previous claims could impact the terms offered by an insurer.

Does your business description fully describe the activities you undertake?

You should provide us with full details regards to any diversification such as holiday lets, school visits, and other activities.

Top Tip: Allow the time to give our Farming Account Managers a guided tour, talk to them about your business, and be prepared to review your current insurance cover, this will allow us to identify any gaps and inaccuracies helping us to create an insurance programme that’s right for you.

In the majority of cases where we have conducted a review, we have been able to offer competitive premiums but most importantly provided cover which is tailored to suit each of our clients. Your insurance is about you and your business; does your current insurance provider understand what is important to you?

To arrange a review of your farm insurance, please contact our team on 0333 2026504.


01-04-2015

Top Tips for Arranging Your Insurance


“…the difference in premium might not be as great as you think, but the result of being underinsured could be devastating.”

Arranging your personal insurances may not be the most exciting of tasks, but the importance of getting your cover right is paramount, should you ever need to make a claim. Rest assured that insurance providers are here to help you; we all have to work to guidelines as outlined by the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

Your renewal

For those with policies covering personal and/or business use such as farms, smallholders, commercial motor or any type of business insurance, you would be deemed a ‘Commercial Customer’. The guidelines state; Renewal notices are ‘in good time’, to make an informed choice, make changes or look for alternative quotes and advice, should you wish. Here at Mole Insurance Services we endeavour to begin our review process 4-6 weeks prior to your renewal date and aim to provide you with your renewal terms approx. 14 days prior. For farms, this often includes a pre-renewal meeting to ensure that your current insurance programme is suited to your current needs.

If you are purchasing insurance to cover you in a private capacity such as your home, car, horse, pet or travel, you are deemed a ‘Consumer’ and therefore should expect to receive your renewal notice from your existing insurer approximately 21 days prior to your renewal date.

Reviewing your cover

When did you last review your insurance and the limits provided within your policy? For farms in particular, this should be reviewed annually and well in advance of your renewal date, we would recommend at least one month in advance. The review stage of dealing with your insurance should not be underestimated, as failure to set your cover correctly and prior to your renewal date could impact on any future claims settlement. Unfortunately, there is no grace under an insurance policy, should an incident occur it would be difficult to negotiate terms post renewal.

If, following a claim you are deemed to be underinsured, your insurer may apply the average clause which essentially means that your claim could be reduced by the same percentage as you are underinsured. We all know that our premium reflects the limits we set; our advice is to always set your limits correctly as the difference in premium might not be as great as you think, but the result of being underinsured could be devastating.

Providing accurate information

It is your responsibility to provide complete and accurate information not only when taking out your insurance policy but throughout the life of the policy. Failure to provide all relevant information could lead to no insurance protection. Insurance companies share information, particularly claims data. If you are ever in doubt, please refer to your insurance adviser.

To ensure that you are appropriately protected for the activities you undertake, arrange a review of your insurance; contact our team on 0333 2026504.