by Jackie Kelly-Pemberton, Director, OFA
Farming is regularly influenced and impacted by adverse conditions and unique situations. A level of risk is also assumed within the agriculture industry, whether it’s the risk of extreme weather, supply chain interruptions or market volatility. Another form of risk that needs to be considered is potential damages to your farm business caused by fire, flooding, or other unexpected causes. Every farmer manages risk on their farm, and ensuring you have the proper insurance coverage is a form of risk management that can protect your most valuable assets.
We appreciate the efforts of our grassroots members, the Leeds Federation of Agriculture and Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) representatives for taking action on addressing insurance concerns and bringing this important topic to the forefront. OFA joined together with The Co-operators to host a webinar on this subject matter in response to a resolution brought forward by Leeds Federation to OFA’s 2021 Annual General Meeting. The resolution highlighted a growing number of member concerns related to farm property insurance coverage and a lack of clarity on the issue. The webinar, which was delivered by expert representatives from The Co-operators, provided an opportunity for members to learn helpful tips on what they should know when renewing their insurance policy. The session provided beneficial information to 315 participants.
This has been a great example of the function of OFA’s resolution process and how grassroots involvement and input gives active direction to OFA’s Board of Directors. Opening this discussion created the opportunity for our organization to engage with benefit partners and deliver a resource that benefits our membership as a whole.
A key takeaway from the presentation was to ensure members have open communication with their insurance broker to make sure you have a policy in place that is specific to your farm business. Working with an agent that has experience in dealing with farm policies is beneficial in limiting the potential for oversight on properties or assets. It is extremely important to make sure the insurance plan is right for you. That means it should be current and covers the needs of your business to prevent an unexpected loss, leaving you to deal with financial hardships. Attentional to detail when renewing your farm insurance is vital to ensuring your valuable assets are protected.
Another helpful tip is to coordinate an annual check-in meeting with your broker to cover any new farm assets that have been purchased. It can be hard to keep track of new purchases but if all items aren’t listed, you risk missing out on coverage. Keep a detailed inventory of your farm assets, and remember to regularly add new equipment, machinery or buildings to your policy.
Discussing farm management plans, maintenance plans and the things you do to make sure your farm is protected are also important to share with your insurance professional. Have you completed electrical upgrades? Do you have a regularly scheduled maintenance plan? Understanding your policy and providing accurate and detailed information will help you make the best decision for your coverage and could also lead to saving on insurance premiums.
With rapid advancements in farm technology, a barn built 40 years ago is nothing like a barn built today. Working with your insurance broker, you should also make sure the description of each farm asset is clear and reflects the actual worth. It is also strategic to make sure your property insurance limits reflect current market conditions to make sure an insurance payout will be enough to replace your damaged property.
This webinar provided an excellent opportunity for members to actively engage in questions, comments or concerns with those working in the insurance industry with The Co-operators. Participants submitted an overwhelming number of questions, including inquiries about how insurance rates will be impacted because of increased costs due to supply chain issues, how trespassing and vandalism affect insurance and, more specifics about liability insurance.
To allow the opportunity for all members to access the information, the webinar was recorded. Any member or farmer that would like to watch at their convenience can view the webinar online. Working together to address the lack of clarity on farm property insurance can ensure that more farmers are aware of how to set up adequate coverage. Although we don’t like to consider the thought of any type of loss, being prepared can help maintain financial security for the future of your farm business.