The number of crop insurance products on the market can be overwhelming. As a broker, keeping up-to-date with what each product covers, which is appropriate for individual farmers and the risks protected can be both tricky and confusing.
Here’s our guide to what’s covered with viticulture insurance and why it’s necessary for Australia and New Zealand-based farmers.
What is viticulture insurance?
Viticulture insurance is about protecting risk associated with growing and producing grapes.
As the sixth largest wine producer in the world, Australia has an impressive 135,133 hectares dedicated to vineyards alone and produces 1.37 billion litres of wine annually, according to Wine Australia. Insurance brokers must understand the unique risks and challenges faced by vineyard owners, in order to explain the benefits of this type of insurance.
While viticulture insurance is about protecting risk associated with growing and producing grapes, policies are often connected to horticultural crops too. As a result, insurance products in this field are likely to cover crops such as olives, kiwifruit and tomato, as well as grapes.
As with any type of crop insurance, the purpose of viticulture insurance is to protect farmers and their income, should the vines or grapes get damaged or destroyed. Grapes are susceptible to changing weather, and especially dramatic conditions such as hail or excessive heat. The quality of the crop is also affected by external forces, such as chemical overspray, or criminal acts of damage.
Viticulture insurance is not a catch all solution though. Insurers still expect vineyard farmers to take responsibility for protecting their crop, and won’t cover some of the day-to-day risks that owners should expect to manage themselves.
What’s covered with viticulture insurance?
Viticulture insurance protects farmers against loss of yield due to weather-related events such as hail or fire (including lightning). It also compensates for damage incurred by human forces, such as the effect of chemicals sprayed nearby but not by the farmer, or malicious acts of damage. Farmers can expect that their crop is covered both before and after harvesting, up to a certain number of days and within a geographical transit radius.
What’s important for farmers to note is that many other weather patterns are not covered, so it’s crucial they take their own steps to protect their investment. For example, damage cause by flood or wind or frost may not be covered in some policies. Farmers should ensure their irrigation practices are suitable and that their crop is as protected as possible from strong wind damage.
Farmers should ensure their irrigation practices are suitable and that their crop is as protected as possible.
Similarly, pest damage is often not covered, despite there being a number of infestations that can cause problems for grape growers.
Other policies may offer optional benefits, and farmers should consider carefully whether these add-ons are needed.
Helping farmers select viticulture insurance
One of the biggest obstacles farmers face is unpredictable risks. They cannot control the weather, or the actions of people around them. Viticulture insurance means that farmers can continue working stress-free, knowing that they’ll be looked after if the worst happens.
At Primacy Underwriting we think we’ve got our viticulture insurance just right. But it’s not just viticulture, we offer insurance for all types of farming activities and aim to protect as many of Australia and New Zealand’s farmers as possible. If you’re looking for a new opportunity – check our brokers information page for more details about our policies and offer.