24 August 2001

Fee structure heats up assurance competition

By Tom Allen-Stevens

ASSURED Combinable Crops Scheme subscription rates have been slashed by up to 50% in a bid to retain members. The new fee structure, announced this week, is on a par to those announced by FABBL back in June and intensifies competition in the farm assurance sector.

ACCS had a monopoly on combinable crops assurance until July, when Farm Assured British Beef and Lamb was given the go ahead to verify cereal businesses to ACCS standards. In a reciprocal arrangement, ACCS can now verify beef and lamb producers to Assured British Meat standards.

The standards remain the same, although just one verification visit will be made to check all enterprises on a members farm, and this will now be done annually.

The old six-band ACCS structure, which determined yearly fees depending on crop area, has been replaced by a four-band system. It means the average 170ha (420-acre) mixed farmer, who was a member of both FABBL and ACCS last year, will find his combined fee drops from £325 to £160.

"There are winners all round in this new deal," said ACCSs Robin Pirie. "We always said the price of farm assurance would come down and it has."

However, annual charges for the smallest area band, below 30ha (74 acres), will rise from £95 to £105 with the introduction of the new system, due to start on Oct 1. "It is unfortunate that the fees have risen for the smallest producers, but otherwise we would lose money," said Mr Pirie. &#42

Farm assurance costs compared

ACCS membership fee FABBL membership fee

Combinable crops 1-79ha £105 £120

80-200ha £120 £120

201-249ha £155 £170

250ha+ £175 £170

Joint members – combinable crops +ABM beef and lamb standards add £40

Beef and/or lamb only (to ABM standards) £75 £85

Reduction for existing FABBL members – £10