The glorious sunshine has not only heralded the start of the summer holidays but also the harvest season. We are specialist brokers in Private Client, Farm and Estate and Bloodstock insurance. In our recent newsletter “The Specialist” we discussed a number of insurance issues relevant to our clients and we reproduce two of them here.
The use of drones has mushroomed out of all recognition; from a fanciful beach toy to giving farmers the competitive edge. They are routinely used for activities as diverse as the spraying and photographing of crops, checking livestock or examining the state of roofs – pilotless drones are rapidly becoming part of everyday life. But what are the insurance implications?
The drone itself may be relatively inexpensive but the damage that they can inflict on third parties or their property is quite another matter. Insurance cover is in its infancy but it is most desirable to have it. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles must always be operated in accordance with the regulations and requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority and comply with its height and distance restrictions. We are able to provide the requisite cover now, but by the end of the year we will have our own bespoke policy backed by the experts in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle field – watch this space.
These are obviously more common in the winter with the more frequent use of open fires, but with the recent dry weather it is still relevant to look at the common causes in order to try to prevent these disasters from occurring in the first place, or even worse, becoming tragedies.
The accompanying image shows the damage to a thatched cottage from a fire which took hold within just a few minutes, and although the fire service was in attendance within 10 minutes of the first call, this didn’t prevent the cottage being completely ruined. The consequences of this fire – thankfully nobody was injured – were devastating for all concerned, and the financial implications of reinstatement are invariably more complicated than first appreciated.
Of course, it is not just a matter of rebuilding; there are many other issues to be dealt with first, such as heritage and planning issues, structural engineers, removal of contaminated debris and waste, and last but by no means least, temporary rehousing. Most rebuilds will take at least 12 months and often much longer. We may not beat the fire brigade to the scene but we do regard management of the whole claim and reinstatement process as very much our territory and we look to be by your side throughout it.
Here are a few points that can prevent a fire in the first place:
- The most common causes of house fires are from lighting, electrical equipment and faulty wiring. Have your electrics tested at least every 10 years.
- Pots and pans overheating can easily start a fire, so never leave cooking unattended and have a fire blanket close to hand.
- Barbeques should be away from the house and free from overhanging plants or trees. Also check the gas bottle for any leaks before you use it.
- Professional chimney sweeping is a must – twice a year for thatch and once a year elsewhere.
- Use hardwoods that have been seasoned for at least 2 years with no more than 20% moisture content.
- Have you or your family ever discharged a fire extinguisher? A good time to practice is when the fire apparatus is coming to the end of its serviceable period anyway. Be careful though!