- The cost of rural insurance has risen significantly due to natural disasters, a shrinking underwriter market, and inflation on equipment and labour
- Brokers are reporting premiums have increased between 20 to 40 per cent in recent times
- The National Farmers’ Federation is concerned about the affordability of insurance for farmers
A combination of national and international natural disasters, and a fast-diminishing underwriter market plus the cost of goods, are hitting farmers and contractors hard.
According to an insurance broker in Dubbo, New South Wales, premiums have increased 20 to 40 per cent in recent times, depending on the insurer.
Narromine-based spray contractor Ben Burrell covers the central west and Western Plains of NSW, with three full-time staff.
“It’s really scary because I simply can’t operate without insurance,” Mr Burrell said.
Renewing the annual policy for his equipment and liability insurance has cost him over $55,000 for the year, and it is growing.
Despite taking good care of his equipment, Mr Burrell said accidents could happen at any time so he needed cover.
“In all aspects of your business, you’re trying to minimise costs and maximise profits, but with insurance, you don’t have a lot of options,” he said.
“If we happen to make a claim, are we going to get insurance again next year — and how expensive is it going to be?”
Mr Burrell said he had increased his contracting rates to compensate for the climbing insurance costs, but even that had its limitations.
“You’re just passing the issue onto the farmer, which is not really fair.”