2 June 1931

Compensation policy caution

A LEADING insurance broker has said the government should not make any changes to their compensation policy for notifiable diseases before they know the outcome of the Krebs badger culling trial.

Officials are expected to present DEFRA ministers next month with a paper which sets out three options which would allow them to overhaul the compensation system for diseases like bovine tuberculosis and foot-and-mouth.

It will suggest funding compensation by introducing either a compulsory levy, a voluntary insurance scheme or even compulsory insurance.

But Christopher Cox, a director of Lycetts – the largest independent broker of farm and estates insurance – said removing government compensation for a disease like TB would be fraught with problems.

Insurers were unlikely to cover anything like the full value of a herd, nor would they want to take on a risk where one of the possible major sources of new infection – the badger – was protected by legislation. The insurance industry was not there to provide a public service, he said.

"DEFRA needs to consider all these factors when deciding how they will manage the farming industry in future.

"They should either step up the badger tests or wait until the results are known before making such fundamental changes to their notifiable disease policy, which could have disastrous consequences for the livestock industry in this country." &#42