FBD Holdings, the Irish insurance company set up by farmers for farmers, competes with huge international companies AXA and Zurich in the farming market.
FBD, of course, has evolved to insuring much more than farm businesses down through the years.
Insurance industry experts suggest that, in Ireland, FBD, AXA and Zurich have the majority of the farm insurance market between them.
However, so many rural farms and businesses are now much more than just a farm business.
Rural farms have residential homes, some have rental properties in other parts of the country and all have jeeps, tractors, family cars, etc, that need to be insured.
Three other global giant insurance companies, Aviva, Allianz and AIG, also operate in Ireland, but are not as active in the farm insurance market or at least are not as front-facing or active in looking for insurance business directly from farmers.
FBD has a long history with the IFA whereby IFA members get a discount on FBD insurance and FBD Holdings plc is chaired by former Glanbia chair Liam Herlihy.
With over 34 branches across the country, it has a wide network and lots of farm experience in staff right across the country.
Zurich plc has a strong agricultural division with at least seven well-known farm experts in the insurance team spread across the country.
In recent years, it completed a deal with Dairygold offering a special discount for co-op members if they signed up for insurance with Zurich.
AXA is a global giant in the insurance market and has 175,000 staff across the world.
Closer to home, AXA is also big in Northern Ireland with over 15 branches and it has upwards of 23 branches in the Republic of Ireland.
In the last four years, AXA has made a big play for farm insurance. Former FBD employee Christy Doherty heads up the AXA farm insurance team with an experienced farm expert team across the country.
Industry sources suggest about one-third of the farm insurance business is done through brokers in the Irish market. In this space, you have some bigger brokers who have a number of farmer-facing branches in particular regions. For example, Farmfirst Insurance has a significant farm insurance business managed by the O’Leary Group in the Cork region, with over 200 employees across nine locations.
We understand much of the farm business is underwritten by Aviva in Ireland. Farm Insurance Ireland.ie is a Dolmen insurance brand. This Dublin business, formed in 1998, has a team working with the farm insurance business headed up by Dave Dillane.
An Post also started recently offering a farm insurance package through an intermediary which we understand is underwritten by AXA.
Campion Insurance and brokers like Britton Insurance, working out of Donegal, again do a lot of farm insurance business.
Brokers do the work in comparing and getting quotes for many farm businesses and often take the stress out of dealing directly with an insurance company for many farmers who have built up a relationship with their local broker.
Share prices of the huge global insurance companies when looked at over a five-year period are probably in a better place than they were for a long time.
Most had their lowest share price at the start of COVID-19 in the March to May 2020 period.
Since then, most have increased business and profits and many recorded record annual profits for the year ended 2021.
All first-quarter guidance for 2022 is again very positive, suggesting 2022 annual profits will be as good if not better than 2021 for many of the global insurance giants.
2022 insurance issues
A high share price, with increased dividends or record profits are not any good for those insuring a farm property unless it results in better-value premiums or better cover.
As farm input prices skyrocket and the cost of replacing farm buildings increases, we ask the insurance companies what to do on pages 50.
The other part to always remember when re-insuring or renewing farm policies with some companies is always review land farmed (leased/conacre) etc, always ensure public liability is covered, and that any buildings are covered for storm damage.
Diesel is double the value compared to what it was a few months ago. Always ask if theft of diesel and tools are covered in the policy.
The worst value insurance is a policy that doesn’t cover what you want it to do so take the time to review and the cheapest quote is not always the best quote.