A ‘belt and braces’ approach is being taken to indemnify farmers and landowners who allow their land to be crossed by hunt packs, to ensure protection against any potential legal claims, as hunt clubs face issues with securing insurance.
Laois farmer and chair of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association (IMFHA), David Lalor, has moved to reassure the farming community that work is ongoing to secure adequate hunting insurance cover.
Many hunt packs are currently covered by their existing insurance policies, some of which are not expiring until after Christmas.
We hoped to have that new policy secured by now
However, a substantial number of hunt packs nationwide will have no insurance in place by the end of current policy expiration dates in November.
Lalor told the Irish Farmers’ Journal: “A lot of work is going on behind the scenes to secure a suitable insurance policy for hunting, and progress has been made.
“We hoped to have that new policy secured by now, there is a slight delay of about two weeks. We (affected affiliated packs) won’t be hunting until we are 100% certain that all landowners are fully indemnified,” he said.
Some hunt packs are hunting away under existing policy cover – there are plenty of horses and hounds on roads at present
“The Occupiers Liability Act is tried and tested and protects farmers. However, at the same time, we need a belt and braces approach on this; we need indemnity for farmers and landowners.
“Some hunt packs are hunting away under existing policy cover – there are plenty of horses and hounds on roads at present. Our own Laois Hunt insurance expires at the end of November for example,” said Lalor.
John D Lyons of Balbriggan-based Goggin Insurance commented: “Our London brokers are working very hard on this. We are quietly confident that a solution will be found.”
Hunting with the Fingal Harriers and the Louths himself, Lyons suggested that copies of existing insurance policies in place could be circulated to farmers and landowners by hunt clubs in advance of meets, to reassure them that indemnity cover is in place.