NFU Mutual insurance renewals pledge

Insurer insists renewals will not be refused because of prior claims for collapsed polytunnels.

NFU Mutual is keen to reassure growers that applications for insurance renewals will not be refused because of claims made for collapsed polytunnels or glasshouses over the winter.

Despite reports of several collapsed polytunnel and glasshouse roofs in December last year (HW, 3 December), the insurance company said horticultural businesses were "not adversely affected" by snow damage.

An representative of NFU Mutual said: "While the weight of snow has been a major cause of claims to farm buildings last winter, because of the shape of polytunnels, we do not believe they were adversely affected.

"And if there was a claim it would not be standard practice to refuse renewal unless the claims investigation revealed other information such as previous undisclosed losses or that the glasshouse did not meet the standards of which we had previously been informed.

"We will provide storm cover - which includes damage caused by weight of snow - on polytunnels and glasshouses that meet our acceptance standards and where there has been no previous adverse loss history."

Alba Trees managing director Rodney Shearer said he was worried about renewing his insurance after the firm suffered damage last winter.

He added: "My policy is up for renewal in August and I certainly will not have the same level of cover. They are most likely going to put a higher excess on it and higher premiums."

Insurance industry reaction

Martin Jones, Towergate Allseasons (HTA Insurance Partner)

"Under commercial insurance policies there is a general condition whereby the insured should take all reasonable precautions to prevent or minimise loss, destruction or damage. At Towergate Allseasons we will continue to offer renewal terms for glasshouses and certain types of polytunnels, albeit that the insurer may well want to insist the heating is maintained to a level to help prevent frost/snow damage."

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