Industry in the dark over future disease crises

By Andrew Shirley

DESPITE a government proposal to work closely with insurance firms in the event of any future foot-and-mouth outbreak, the industry has been left in the dark, claims one broker.

In a recent Commons statement, agriculture minister Nick Brown said: “The government plans to work closely with the industry to develop insurance options against both animal disease and the consequences which disease brings.”

However, a MAFF spokesman was unable to provide further details, blaming the election campaign for the lack of information.

“Any plans will have to wait until the outcome of the election,” he said.

But William Barne, a director of insurance broker Lycett, says it is clear very little thought has been put into the scheme.

“We are not sure what is happening. Are we supposed to be covering farmers losses or devising new forms of cover for other businesses affected?”

Any move to transfer the compensation burden to farmers in the form of insurance premiums would be a very big shift, he pointed out.

“It remains to be seen what cover insurance companies will be prepared to offer,” he added.


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