The Client, The Challenge and The Solution – Insuring a high risk business
Acres Insurance Brokers secured cover for a complex, high-risk, fresh produce business in the midst of a global pandemic and nationwide lockdown.
Our client is one of, if not the largest, apple and pear growers in the United Kingdom. It is the epitome of a modern, innovative and commercial farming business with multiple state-of-the-art controlled atmosphere storage facilities, chilled transport and a significant permanent and seasonal workforce.
AC Goatham and Son’s business is complex and so, to many insurers, presented as a high-risk enterprise.
Insurance underwriters are naturally wary of what they often refer to generally as “food risks”. Food scares (such as the horsemeat scandal), complex logistics, chilled transport and large stores containing insulated panels, often lead to underwriters not being willing to offer them cover. In the fruit industry, these risk factors were exacerbated in the spring by the COVID-19 pandemic, threatening harvest with uncertainty about harvest workers from the EU being able to come over to the UK.
Luckily, as a result of the proactive nature of the management team at AC Goatham and Son, planning for just such contingencies in preparation for Brexit was already firmly in place.
Our Kent team had to take a different approach to highlight to underwriters how their client was mitigating and managing risk.
Through extensive discussions and interaction with the business’ Board of Directors, the advisory team from Chavereys (the market-leading specialist agricultural accountancy firm) as well as internal fleet and risk management committees, they were able to highlight the many positive features of the business, its organisation, physical layout, and the proactive steps that the business was already taking to mitigate risk. This information was presented to underwriters in a 50-page dossier which also contained detailed information about the company’s business and transactions.
As part of the preparations for their presentation, Acres Insurance Brokers had commissioned photographs and drone footage of the key sites. Little did they know at the time the value this would have. Lockdown hit at a crucial point in the process, just as underwriter’s visits to site would normally take place, this footage was sent to the underwriters in lieu.
The 50-page dossier, accompanying images and footage served to secure AC Goatham and Sons a comprehensive policy on favourable terms which was tailored to their business requirements and gave them the cover that was required.
We, at Acres Insurance Brokers, pride ourselves on providing a bespoke service to our clients. As independent brokers working on behalf of the client, we have the industry knowledge, experience and flexibility to speak to more than one underwriter, even within one policy. If your agricultural or commercial business has complex insurance requirements, speak to our team on 01536 607070.