Challenging Times: How Acres can be an asset
We have lost count of how many times we have said, “Speak to your insurance broker to ensure that you are covered” when giving insurance advice. Buying a new tractor? Speak to you broker. Diversifying? Speak to your broker. Looking to avoid paying higher premiums than necessary? Speak to your broker. We could go on…
We will be giving many of our clients gold stars and a pat on the back for remembering these wise words. Many have contacted us as they have adapted their businesses over the past few weeks in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have loved hearing these good news stories during challenging times.
For one client, a recent conversation with Rollo Parsons (an Acres Insurance Broker) resulted in more than just insurance advice. It highlighted how we at Acres Insurance hold a privileged position within agriculture. In fact, we can’t think of many professionals within the agricultural industry who have such regular contact with businesses right across the sector.
This particular client is a dairy farmer with a herd of Channel Island cattle. They use their milk to produce exceptional blue cheese, with any surplus going to the dairies. Their cheese usually sells at farmers’ markets. However, these channels disappeared overnight when the lockdown was announced.
With cheese having a finite shelf life and the farm having to dump their milk, they called Rollo to ask whether there was any cover within their policy. Unfortunately, in this case the answer was ‘no’. As COVID-19 is a new disease, it is not listed in many insurance policies where there is Business Interruption Insurance covering human-related diseases. Plus, this often only applies if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at the business premises or its immediate proximity.
Rollo, like every other member of the Acres team, believes that an Insurance Broker should get to know their clients on an individual basis and can use their knowledge to be an asset to their businesses.
He had also been speaking to another Acres’ client earlier that week. This particular client is a large vegetable producer who grows 90 lines of vegetables themselves. They provide this, along with other fruit and vegetables, to food services and catering businesses throughout London and the South East.
Whilst their usual sources of income had also dried up overnight, they didn’t want to furlough their staff, including delivery drivers. They repurposed their vans and started to sell their produce online. Through their newly founded delivery service, they were able to provide fruit, vegetables, meat and soft drinks from existing and new suppliers to people locally. Shares on social media meant that their service rapidly gained momentum and became a growing business.
Rollo was able to put his two clients in touch with each other. Through including the blue cheese on their website, the fresh produce business has been able to increase their offering. For the dairy farm, they have gone from dumping milk to struggling to keep up with demand. Whilst the margins aren’t high, it is keeping them afloat. Plus, they will be exposing their cheese to new customers who, having tasted it, will be coming back for more time and time again.
We have been astounded over the last few weeks by the resilience and ingenuity of the farming industry. They have worked hard to serve their communities and consumers and to support each other at this time. And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, if you are making changes to how you sell your produce, please get in touch with us to ensure that you are covered. Our Acres team are all currently working from home and so can answer any questions, make changes to policies and offer advice.