The AI Group Insurance initiative is exclusive to Stonegate producers and will protect their free-range and organic egg farmers by offering six months’ business interruption should their poultry be infected with bird flu.
It is the first time this kind of funded protection has been offered to this extent by any packer in the UK and the first AI business insurance cover that NFU Mutual has placed since October 2021.
Clarence Court egg brand will fund the cost of insurance
This is designed to create a more stable environment for farmers to operate in while providing greater confidence for them to invest in their business and the industry.
“This scheme is all about reducing farmers’ risk, creating a stronger, more robust, sustainable supply chain to ensure our customers have reliable continuity of supply,” said Adrian Gott, CEO of Stonegate.
“This has been possible because of the exacting packing centre and processing standards that are at the head office of Stonegate in Lacock and the ancillary business that Stonegate does with NFU Mutual,” he added. “Both the egg processing and egg packing centre facilities have ‘AA*’ Double A star, [BRCGS] accreditation – the highest possible technical standard in the industry.”
Stonegate, which owns the Clarence Court brand, will fund the cost of this insurance cover for its farmers at a time when they may find it hard to obtain AI cover from the insurance market.
Working on the agriculture insurance scheme for over six months
Earlier this year, Robert Gooch, CEO of the British Free Range Egg Producers Association, warned that the lack of insurance opportunities for egg producers and packers was diminishing confidence.
“Either [insurance] is not available, so some brokers and some insurers have just come out of the market all together saying it is a risky market,” said Gooch. Or those few “low risk” farmers who were able to secure insurance from the limited providers available have seen premiums rise substantially.
“We have been working on this scheme with NFU Mutual and their AI provider Markel for over six months and it will allow all our producers to take out this policy with their local NFU Mutual agency,” said Gott. “It’s another significant step forward in our move to ever closer collaboration with our farming partners and I’m proud to be offering this unique scheme to them.”