Farm fires cost industry up to £100m a year

Research has revealed that the UK agriculture industry lost up to £100 million due to the cost of farm fires in 2014.

Insurance experts at NFU Mutual have released figures showing that they paid out £44.7 million in fire claims during 2014, and that these payments covered about 75 per cent of the total market on fire insurance.

This means that the entire insurance market paid out around £60 million in fire claims last year, but NFU Mutual expect that a further £40 million was lost in uninsured farm property.

NFU Mutual’s rural affairs spokesman, Tim Price said: The total cost would be more than double the £44.7 million total figure paid out by NFU Mutual if you included an estimate for farms which had no insurance cover.”

The part of the UK worst affected by fire insurance claims was East Anglia, where £8.9 million was paid out to farmers. It was followed by the South West which saw £6.4 million handed out by insurers. The area least affected was Northern Ireland, where only £2.1 million was paid out against claims.

The cost of these fires can often stretch well beyond the initial incident and can put buildings and machinery out of action for some time, creating a larger financial impact on a farms annual income.

“The scale of claims shows how important it is to take all possible steps to prevent fires breaking out,” said Mr Price.

He added that keeping a detailed inventory could help in a claim and cautioned farmers not to leave multiple items of expensive machinery in one location if possible, to lessen the impact of a fire.

According to NFU Mutual figures, the most common cause of farm fires was electrical faults, which were responsible for over a third of all 2014 fire claims. Arson and mechanical faults were the next most common causes.