30 November 2001

NFU Mutual backs down in insurance row

NFU Mutual has backtracked after refusing to renew a farmers foot-and-mouth annual insurance policy unless he insured the rest of his business with the company.

The U-turn came after farmers weekly made inquiries on behalf of Ken Fairbairn of Waterside House, Alnmouth, Alnwick, Northumberland. Mr Fairbairn had been told his F&M cover would not be extended beyond April unless he insured more of his farm business with the company.

Despite having been covered for F&M with the countrys biggest agricultural insurer since the 1960s, Mr Fairbairn was told that his policy would be extended only for six months until the rest of his policies came up for renewal. At that point, NFU Mutual would then expect to quote for all of his business.

farmers weekly contacted NFU Mutual for an explanation. Hours afterwards, Mr Fairbairn received a call from the company saying his cover would be extended as normal. NFU Mutual spokesman Tim Price said there had been a "misunderstanding" that everyone was pleased had been cleared up.

There was no question of farmers who had always had cover being left without insurance, said Mr Price. But he admitted: "In general we do prefer our customers to put all or the majority of their business insurance with us." &#42