Increasing difficulties with specifically fire insurance are giving many fruit industry stakeholders a headache.
Alarming concerns include trends such as insurance policy cancellations or non-renewals and tripled premium rates for those seeking new policies; insurance companies willing to cover high-risk properties for elevated prices; some insurance companies no longer ‘walk properties’ before making blanket decisions and this raises discrimination concerns; some insurance brokers out to make a quick buck and giving clients wrong information. So, where does this leave the producer or packhouse with regards to fire insurance?
As we head into fire season, Hortgro asked law practitioner Danie van Zyl, Divisional Manager of Marsh Proprietary Limited, in Stellenbosch his opinion. According to Van Zyl, the most important tips he could give stakeholders were to make sure that they have the right information (and documentation) available at all times. Such as:
- Correctly insured amounts per building – split between machinery, stock, buildings, and business breakdown.
- Full underwriting surveys.
- Course of Construction (COC), also known as Builder’s Risk Insurance, is designed to protect owners and contractors from the devastating impact of fires, floods, vandalism, theft, and other unwelcome accidents to a construction project.
- Good “housekeeping”, no clutter against or inside buildings. Reduce all fire risks.
- If there are no sprinklers, at least be able to show a plan where and when the sprinklers will be installed.
- Have fire (disaster management) contingency plans ready.
- Have the right attitude when interacting with insurers. The insurers refer to “The Moral Risk” of a client. Being stroppy will get you nowhere.
- Begin negotiations at least three months before renewal.
- Use knowledgeable brokers who understand the risk, and understand agriculture.
- According to Van Zyl they foresee that premiums will stabilize again, “but we will still have long-standing sprinkler requirements with us”.
DOWNLOAD a Pdf regarding SA property insurance here: south-africa-property-market-update-v3
Read a Hortgro document on the management of wildfire and other disaster strategies here: https://www.hortgro.co.za/news/veld-fires-strategies-for-managing-runaway-fires-2/
DOWNLOAD a handy emergency poster here: https://www.hortgro.co.za/wp-content/uploads/docs/2018/11/veld-fire-emergency-numbers.pdf