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rural-land

Why choosing a specialist insurance broker makes a big difference

September 7, 2016

Rural land and business owners face a wide range of risks. Working with a specialist insurance broker helps you understand your exposures and arrange comprehensive and competitive cover.

The rural sector has such a diverse range of circumstances to take into consideration when arranging insurance. There are many aspects of rural life that are exposed to risk. From flooding, property disputes, basic payment subsidy protection and public right of way issues, through to motor and property insurance.

Consequently it is unlikely that an off-the-shelf insurance policy will provide the cover for many of them, or the best value for money. It can also be difficult managing numerous polices with different renewal dates throughout the year.

This is how an insurance broker that is dedicated to the rural sector can add value in terms of protection and cost savings. They will know what questions to ask and guide you through the process to ensure you are fully covered.

Being under insured can be catastrophic

The risks of under-insurance are very real and insurance brokers have a duty to make their clients aware of such implications and help them find the most appropriate cover for them and their business.

There was a recent legal case involving a very serious injury to a member of the public visiting a farm

This tragic incident rendered the member of the public paraplegic when a bale of straw struck them. The personal injury claim, close to £9M, was almost double the public liability limit of the farmers’ policy (£5M).

In these circumstances an insurer may invoke a provision in their contract which in simple terms means they can hand over a sum equal to the limit of indemnity (£5M) and leave the policyholder to foot the bill for the remaining costs (£4M).

Legal fees up to the limit of liability would likely be covered under the policy. However once the claim has been settled up to the insurers limit, any further legal costs thereafter would become the responsibility of the policyholder, including the claimant’s costs if successful.

Freedom to prosper

Insurance isn’t just about protection though. It can also provide the necessary peace of mind to help businesses prosper through growth or diversification.

So what should you expect from an insurance broker?

1. Specialist knowledge
The rural sector is very diverse, from private individuals, farmers, small businesses through to large estates. No matter the type of client, they will all benefit from specialist support from a broker who understands their circumstances and environment.

2. Choice
New products and services are coming into the market all the time. A good broker will be researching these to secure the most appropriate deal, demonstrating how and why they have done so. If they can’t, ask why – it could save money or reduce the risk of being under-insured if circumstances have changed. Don’t fall into the trap of simply renewing your existing policy year on year, as it may no longer provide the protection you require if it does not reflect any changes in your circumstances.

3. Negotiating power

Depending on the product you require, a broker can access different insurers in order to find the right solution and offer more choice. If they have long standing relationships with certain insurers, this may also have a direct bearing on the terms they can negotiate. A strong broker will have earned the trust of insurers and their underwriters, so even if the market or sector is challenging, they will be able to secure terms that others perhaps couldn’t.

4. Independent advice

Insurance brokers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which means they have to follow strict protocols and demonstrate they are always acting in their client’s best interests. This means providing completely impartial advice appropriate for each individual’s or company’s circumstances.

A specialist broker acts as a trusted advisor for the client.  If renewal premiums have gone up or say, cover for water damage has been withdrawn following a series of claims, a broker can often negotiate to secure the right balance between premiums, policy terms and excesses.

5. Hands-on claims support

Claims are the real moment of truth – when clients know whether they have the right cover in place.

A good broker should act as your advocate, proactively working with you and your insurers to get claims resolved promptly and fairly.

6. Transparency around charges

Fees should be very transparent between the broker and their client and discussed from the outset so the most appropriate arrangement is agreed.  With smaller businesses or individuals more often than not the arrangement is done on a commission basis, whereas with some larger clients, they may find a one off fee is a suitable alternative.

Brokers can usually offset their charges by securing excellent deals on your insurance premiums because of their buying power and strong market relationships. You may find that you are paying the same – or even less – than you were previously, for more extensive cover.

While general insurance can be very transactional and completed on a standalone renewal date every year, the best insurance brokers can bring more to the table, especially in highly specialised areas such as the rural sector. They can save you money; protect you, your people, your property and your reputation.

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