As a rural insurance broker, you'll know that no two farms are the same. They'll be contending with different weather, crops, technology and budget. It's not surprising, then, that no two farms need the same insurance policy, and accurately tailoring your insurance quote comes down to knowing the farm and knowing the farmer.
Understanding what your farmers need
Nothing beats making a personal visit to a farm to ensure you really understand how your farmer works and what their main risks are. Not only do you get to see their circumstances with your own eyes, but you have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss anything you're unsure about.
It's crucial you understand what farmers need protecting from, and how they already manage the risk.
However, whether or not you head to the farm in person, here are some key points to ensure are covered if you want to accurately tailor your insurance.
- Identify their risks – Farmers all deal with different risks according to the type of farm they manage, their produce and their geographical location. While some farmers deal with hail storms that can wipe out their crops, others deal with drought and must grow and budget accordingly. It's crucial you understand what they need protecting from, and how they already manage the risk – which dictates the level of protection needed.
- Understand the type of farm – The difference between the methods used and the risks faced on a New Zealand dairy farm are very different from a Western Australia crop farm, for instance. Farms in rural WA can be so large that farmers have multiple properties, enabling them to stay closest to where they're working. With an expanse that size, they may be managing a number of different risks across the farm, and could need an insurance policy that covers all potential perils. Similarly, a farm that does almost everything with machinery, or in greenhouses, faces different threats to those growing the same produce differently. Some farms may have a significant amount of data that informs their decision making stored on a computer that needs protection in itself.
- Check for seasonal variation – Farmers face different external risks according to changing weather patterns, the types of crops they grow and the stage of growth. Some crops are planted afresh each season and exactly what a farmer grows could change from year-to-year. Meanwhile, other crops are permanent, but face different risks according to their growth stage. For example, new crops could be entirely wiped out by a bad hail storm, while larger plants may survive with recoverable damage.
The skills an insurance broker needs to accurately tailor quotes
Communication and interpersonal skills
Part of an agent's job is to find out as much as they can apart their clients' farms. This requires the ability to ask all the right questions, and elicit detail in the answers. Farmers, like any client, need to feel that you're taking the time to ensure you understand their situation, and the only way you'll do this is with strong interpersonal skills that get the details out of even the quietest or most rushed farmers.
Understanding of farming practices
In order to really help your clients get the best product, you'll need to show understanding of their industry. You'll soon appear unprofessional if you ask obvious questions, but moreover, you won't be able to fully tailor the product you offer if you don't truly understand how their farm works or the impact of the risks you're assessing. A thorough understanding of the farm industry also helps you to see why farmers make the decisions they do, and what goes into their thought process.
Empathy around farming risk
Farmers face continual risks, and might be recovering from a disaster when they make the decision to phone you. As a result, empathy is a must in order to make the farmer feel comfortable enough to talk to you honestly about their situation and provide the information you need to tailor their quote.
Willingness to change with technology and practices
Farming and insurance practices change regularly. New generations of farmers are doing things differently from their parents and grandparents. Meanwhile, insurance is changing as new technology provides an opportunity to assess risk and damage in different ways. Government subsidies or other forms of support or regulation may also change over time.
Primacy's PATH Online Portal
All of our brokers gain access to our online portal, PATH. Our insurance agents submit their applications online, in a fast and efficient system that allows them to tailor their quotes and policies according to the needs of their farmers. PATH is available 24 hours a day, meaning you can access your clients' details whenever and wherever you need to, and check on the progress of your quote. You can upload important documentation, access details of our packages and manage renewals and reminders.
Find out more about our crop insurance service for brokers today.