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Farming Matters – Harvest, We’re off!

Farming Matters – Harvest, We’re off!

 

Harvest – We’re off!  The harvest is upon us once again and a little earlier than usual, perhaps by two weeks in some counties, and the combines roll out to tackle the first winter barley crops of the season on the lighter land.

There are many issues to take on board when planning harvest activity and most should have been completed by the time the first fields are cut. However, that’s all very well said and done when on-going issues inevitably confound the best laid plans and it is sometimes useful to have a checklist on the more obscure and, some would say, mundane details such as insurance!

This year is drier and hotter than most and here are a few tips that can help in avoiding trouble.

Fire. Remove the dust and detritus from the combine and also from the balers before, after and during the operation. Combine and large baler fires in particular are increasingly common and in many cases avoidable. Don’t just carry a fire extinguisher in the combine, but have one in each tractor cab and farm pick up.  Reviewing these matters with seasonal harvest staff is imperative. The grain drying equipment within the sheds should have been maintained and again be dust free with the electrics and motors checked. Damp conditions, which I am sure will also be experienced, play havoc with blocking augers, which can again cause combustible situations.

Insurance check – Are your combinable crop and straw sums insured adequate to cover the increased quantities and values in the field, in store and being hauled between the two? Insurers will be keen to know where the straw is located and there may be limits on the amount of straw you can store in any one location. Have you extended your insurance to cover hire costs following a fire, thus enabling you to continue without interruption and with the reassurance of knowing that hire charges for machinery and alternative storage/drying are covered?

Staff. Check that temporary staff are well versed in the safety management of the farm and spend time running through emergency scenarios. (Give them emergency numbers to put in their phones). Talk to experienced staff about what went wrong and what worked in previous harvests. Also check that the new seasonal staff are old enough to drive certain machines and combinations as strict weight limits apply – I have a list, and its not easy to follow!

Insurance check – Have you informed your insurer about hiring extra staff – you may be covered automatically, but it’s good to check, just in case employers liability cover was lapsed for any reason. Is there a group personal accident scheme in place to cover employees following accidents and which enables you to employ temporary staff in the knowledge that the insurers will pay for the additional costs.

This advice is not intended to be exhaustive, but if you would find a more comprehensive check list useful, you are welcome to contact Martin Wright on 01793 847333 in our Swindon office or mwright@weatherbyshamilton.co.uk

Sponsoring at Badminton Horse Trials

Sponsoring at Badminton Horse Trials

We are just back from our maiden sponsorship at the Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials last week where we were delighted to sponsor The Members Enclosure. Additionally we took a chalet on the lake and entertained about 250 friends and clients over the four days. We didn’t really know how it would go but it vastly exceeded our expectations and we have every intention of continuing what we have started.

We had two particular reasons to be there. Firstly Martin Wright, who joined us as a partner in our Swindon office last July, spent 25 years running the NFU Mutual’s office in Wotton-under-Edge with Badminton right in the middle of his old patch. It was therefore a perfect opportunity for Martin to introduce Weatherbys Hamilton to his old clients at what is effectively his village fete!

Secondly, Jonny McIrvine, one of our partners in Dullingham, competed at Badminton several times in the early 80s and so gives us a real resonance with the eventing world. On his final ride in 1985, Jonny’s aptly named Hamlet IV was second after the dressage but sadly they parted company with each other at the Lake. It was deeper in those days and whilst Jonny struggled to come up for air, Hamlet set off back to the stables behind Badminton House. The most direct route was down the entire length of the lake, and so Hamlet swam home past the huge crowds to the considerable amusement of everyone bar his rider!

The Members Enclosure is the focal point of the Main Arena and has a footfall of several thousand over the four days. Our branding, from the gatemen in our green livery to our logo on the Members’ badges, was extremely effective and made us feel very much at the heart of the event. The weather was dry throughout which makes such a difference and Andrew Nicholson on Nereo was a winner who exemplifies what an incredibly difficult and tough event Badminton is to win. The 55 year old rider broke his neck in a fall in 2015 which required eight hours of surgery and this was his first win at the 36th attempt. Qualities that stand one in good stead whatever business you are in.

Farming matters

Farming matters

Farming matters to Martin Wright. Martin joined us as a partner in our Swindon office last summer after 25 years with the NFU where he was running their influential Wotton Under Edge branch. His area included estates such as Badminton, Highgrove and Gatcombe and a great deal of agricultural activity.

Martin will periodically publish his thoughts on our website under the title Farming Matters when he feels he has something to say that is relevant or of interest  to our clients.

“The month of February saw a sudden and shocking increase in the number of farm fatalities – 10 deaths on farms in one month, including one child. That compares with an “average” of 3 deaths per month in a normal cycle. We would normally see around 30 – 40 deaths per year. This month’s cases include:

  • A farmer killed when unloading cattle from his vehicle.
  • A man run over by a telehandler.
  • A farm worker who died when he came into contact with his chainsaw during tree work.
  • A farmer crushed underneath a mini tractor & trailer that overturned on steep ground.
  • A worker killed by a falling straw bale whilst unloading.
  • A man killed when the farm vehicle he was repairing fell on him.
  • A 3 year old child killed when run over by a farm vehicle.

When conducting an insurance review a diligent broker should not shy away from raising these examples, highlighting the sad reality of what can all too easily go wrong. Employers’ Liability is a legal requirement and cover should always be in place if you employ anyone, even those employed on a casual or part time basis when you may feel it is inappropriate or unnecessary. If in doubt, we are always here to provide the correct advice.

Also, look at Public Liability indemnity limits. With court awards on the increase, £5m may easily not be sufficient any more and £10m could be more appropriate when you consider the different activities that take place on your land, such as livestock farming and the risk of straying that goes with it. You should also consider any other commercial activities that take place and the number of visitors that those may bring to your farm or estate.

The issue of Brexit is looming large for an industry that relies heavily on EU support. It goes without saying that farmers are anxious about the future and the financial implications for each sector. We intend to provide an insight in to our understanding of these implications as the story unfolds. Farming matters – watch this space!”

 

Leading insurance broker Weatherbys Hamilton announces sponsorship at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

Leading insurance broker Weatherbys Hamilton announces sponsorship at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials

Weatherbys Hamilton will be supporting the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this year – providing sponsorship of the Members’ Enclosure.

The world-famous event takes place from 3rd  to 7th May on The Duke of Beaufort’s magnificent Badminton estate in South Gloucestershire and attracts crowds of around 160,000 to watch the world’s leading horses and riders compete in dressage, cross country and show jumping.

Weatherbys Hamilton is renowned for its expertise for the insurance of houses, farms, country estates and bloodstock and has a thriving office in Swindon which serves the Cotswolds area and all neighbouring counties. Weatherbys Hamilton partners’ Richard Chugg, Martin Wright and Angus Maclean all have a strong local following. The firm also has offices in Mayfair, Newmarket, Wellingborough and Penrith.

Charles Hamilton, Chief Executive, Weatherbys Hamilton, commented: “Badminton is a world-class event and we are thrilled to be supporting this exciting and hugely popular competition in the equestrian calendar. It is our ambition to be the first name that someone think of when they need private client insurance, in the same way that the Badminton name is synonymous with eventing. The arrival this year of Martin Wright in our Swindon office has added significantly to our farm and estate expertise and we pride ourselves on the fresh approach and excellent, competitive service that we are able to provide from all of our offices.”

Hugh Thomas, Event Director, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, said: “The Members’ Enclosure is the social heart of Badminton and we are delighted that Weatherbys Hamilton is supporting us. The Members’ Enclosure is wonderful place to meet friends and enjoy lunch or drinks and we look forward to seeing our members there this year.”

New Point-To-Point at Barbury Castle

New Point-To-Point at Barbury Castle

Weatherbys Hamilton is delighted to announce its sponsorship of the Mixed Open at the inaugural International Point-to-Point at Barbury Castle on Saturday 14th January.

This is an exciting new fixture aimed at attracting top competition as well as showcasing talent from both sides of the Irish Sea ahead of the big Cheltenham Sale at the end of that month.

Weatherbys Hamilton is a well-known name for the insurance of houses, farms and estates and bloodstock and has a thriving office in Swindon which serves the Cotswold area and all neighbouring counties. Richard Chugg, Martin Wright and Angus Maclean, the partners in that office, have a strong following and the firm has a growing national reputation.

Charles Hamilton, Chief executive, Weatherbys Hamilton LLP commented ” We are thrilled to be sponsoring at such an exciting new meeting and at course like Barbury. The concept of encouraging Anglo-Irish competition is such a good one and I am sure will be rewarded by great support from runners and spectators alike. Let’s hope for decent weather and a big turn-out to mark a meeting that will only go from strength to strength.”

Farm and Estate insurance

Farm and Estate insurance

As our reputation as a leading private client broker grows, so does our expertise in farm and estate insurance.

In January this year Will Johnson joined us as a partner to found our Penrith office and brought with him the experience of working for the NFU Mutual in Lancaster after a degree from Cirencester. With a brother as a land agent and a father a retired land agent, Will is steeped in the management of the countryside and is ideally placed to manage the insurances of farms and estates all over the North of England and Scotland. Then in July Andrea Taylor arrived from Lycetts after 12 years in their Newmarket and Edinburgh offices looking after bloodstock as well as farm and estate clients. Andrea is the daughter of a Lockerbie farmer and it is hard to think of a better qualified team to represent us.  Penrith is so well placed geographically that most of the North is within easy reach of our office which means that they can easily deliver the hands-on personal service that is at the core what we offer.

In a parallel move, Martin Wright joined our Swindon office as a partner in July. Until then Martin had worked for the NFU for all of his career and for the last twenty five years as the group secretary of its Wotton Under Edge branch in Gloucestershire. Located between Cirencester and Tetbury, this branch was the NFU Mutual’s leading office for the insurance of farms and estates in the whole country and so we are absolutely delighted to have someone of Martin’s calibre join us. He is a key signing and the depth of his experience is already proving invaluable to us and our clients.

Between Will, Andrea and Martin, Weatherbys Hamilton is now in a very strong position to challenge the established players in the farm and estate market represented principally by RK Harrison, Lycetts and the NFU. Quality of advice is just as important as premium and we are very well positioned to provide our clients with the best of both worlds. With the rest of Weatherbys Hamilton growing strongly in its core areas of private client and equine insurance, we are very confident that we are providing products and service that clients are finding increasingly hard to obtain elsewhere.