NFU Mutual has released details of a £32m support package to help farmers through the coronavirus pandemic.
The insurer has devised cover changes to protect its policy holders and will also donate millions of pounds to charities, including mental health causes, to help support rural communities.
The key pledges include continued availability of its existing uncollected milk insurance and free extended public liability cover for farmers selling their own produce direct to the public.
To help the majority of farmers who are self-employed, the insurer has said it will include cover for Covid-19 in Personal Accident and Group Personal Accident policies.
The cover will be available for new and existing customers. This will help provide income if the farmer and farm workers are unable to work due to the virus. It is expected to provide £12m worth of pay-outs for members affected by the virus in 2020.
The insurer’s 300 offices, based in rural communities across the country, will distribute a share of £1m to help local charities as part of an emergency coronavirus fund.
The offices will also receive a share of £5m to help with the local NFU Mutual and NFU services they provide.
A donation of £50,000 will also be made to the Farm Safety Foundation to support its mental health work during the lockdown, which has seen strict social distancing measures put in place by the government.
An automatic 15% increase in property sums insured will continue, to ensure farmers are protected if insurers cannot access a property that may have increased in value during the outbreak.
The increase to cover is worth an estimated £24m.
Farmer support welcomed
NFU Scotland welcomed the pledges, and said it was good to see the insurer “rallying round the industry in this time of crisis”.
NFU Mutual chairman Jim McLaren, who is also a farmer, said: “For over 100 years we have stood by the side of farmers and we are determined to do everything we can to support our customers and the countryside through these difficult times.
“British farmers and growers are playing a vital role in the national effort, despite facing enormous challenges themselves.”
NFU Mutual’s pledges
- £24m insurance package of increases to cover
- £5m support scheme to the local agency network
- £1.8m increase in charitable donations
- £1.35m change to the claims process
- An additional £250m Mutual Bonus discount for loyal customers