GRAIN Producers Australia (GPA) says reports of insurance no longer being available to contract harvesters due to fire risk are exaggerated, following a meeting between GPA’s Grains Policy Council, GRDC, Australian Custom Harvesters (ACH) and representatives of major insurance providers to explore the issue.
GPA president Andrew Weidemann said the clear message was that insurance continued to be available for contractors and growers, regardless of whether they were harvesting cereals, oilseeds, pulses or any other grain crop.
“It’s a highly competitive space in respect of both premiums and product offerings and the clear message was that insurers are prepared to work with clients, or potential clients, to meet their needs,” Mr Weidemann said.
“Header fires are an extremely serious issue for all involved, which in worst case scenarios can be many people far beyond the initial ignition point and is why all people working in harvest operations should know about and use all appropriate strategies to avoid or contain fires.
“In the event a fire does occur though, you want to know that insurance is there to help the recovery and all the insurers who met with us emphasised the long term nature of their businesses, which seek a balance over many years.
“It was recognised that last harvest produced enormous volumes of grain and in many areas went for an extended period, but the events of one season do not necessarily mean a change of direction for insurance.”
With the agreement of all parties, GPA has undertaken to form a working group with farming representatives, insurers, ACH representatives and researchers to identify key research issues and to guide and prioritise that research, as well as helping information flow to where it is needed.
“In the meantime, the very clear message from the insurers is it is ‘business as usual’ – each farming or harvesting business wanting insurance presents a different situation, claims history and risk analysis, so the opportunity is there for anyone with concerns to talk to one or more insurance providers, both about what products may be offered and what they individually do to minimise and manage fire risk,” Mr Weidemann said.