NFU Mutual to face challenge
A CHALLENGE is being mounted by leading insurers to the supremacy of the NFU Mutual in handling farming business.
The Commercial Union group, which has just acquired a major US farm insurance company – also called National Farmers Union – says it also intends to expand into this niche area in Britain.
This is likely to be speeded up if, or more likely when, it links up with the Perth-based General Accident company, which already has a sizeable agricultural portfolio. The merger would double CUs present turnover of nearly £4.4bn worldwide and £1.3bn in the UK.
"No two farms are ever alike but they all need insurance," says Tony Cornell, CUs broker manager. "The business opportunities in this sector can be considerable."
With assets of about £6bn and a premium income of £321m a year – of which £4m goes to help running the administrative machinery of the National Farmers Union – the NFU Mutual has pre-empted the move with a recent round robin to policyholders from chairman, Alun Evans, outlining the firms progress.
This includes the offer of free loss of income assurance, an increase in liability cover to £10m, improved motor accident death cover, higher no claim discounts and loyalty discount schemes.
Mr Evans said the NFU Mutual had seen off previous attacks on its market. "We are committed to the farming industry long term, we have products tailored to its specific needs, and we are a significant contributor to the running of the farmers unions." *