Your farming operation often relies on a team of advisers — lawyers, accountants, succession planners and marketers. Insurance providers can play a similar role, helping farmers to manage your wildfire risks.
Loss prevention specialists will work with farmers and come right out to the farm to conduct inspections. Although inspections may seem daunting, these people have likely seen all kinds of farm operations and related risks. Their recommendations can provide a custom risk analysis for farmers to address any high-risk fire or unsafe areas.
Get to know your insurer, the products and services they provide and understand they can share knowledge and tools to help minimize the risk of fire or loss on your farm. Ideally, you can develop a working relationship with your agent or broker by reviewing strategies to prevent and manage fire risks.
Ask to meet with a loss prevention specialist to review barns, outbuildings and electrical systems. These professionals can help diagnose problems, using thermal inspections to identify issues with electrical and mechanical systems. They can see behind the scenes with infrared or thermal imaging tools. Fire risks hidden to the naked eye can be spotted this way - especially in electrical systems.
There is a common misconception that insurance inspection recommendations are going to cost a lot to update. This is seldom the case, and updates can happen over a period of time and significantly reduce the risk of a fire. Inspection recommendations can also be viewed as investments to ensure the safety of a farm operation. Adding an insurance adviser or broker to a farm management team can also benefit insurance policy options.
Farmers can review insurance policies thoroughly at renewal and implement fire prevention inspections into regular farm management routines. Each farm has different risk factors. Dairy and swine operations typically have more electrical equipment including ventilation, fans and feed rooms and are exposed to corrosive gases that increase the risk of electrical fires. Beef and equine operations have unique risk factors too with hay and straw storage. Insurance advisers and inspectors are familiar with varying farm types and the related risks.
Remember: if you're someone who owns their own ag operation, you should manage fire risk factors as part of your standard operations. Prevention is your best defense.