For a very long time, farmers and rural workers have had a passive discrimination against them in the world of finance and insurance. For example, to get an insurance policy as a farmer, the danger classification was about the same as a powder monkey on a mining site! That made it ridiculously and prohibitively expensive for the average farmer, struggling to make ends meet anyway, to afford insurance or income protection.
Sure, the farm IS a dangerous place. My family don’t die of old age. We have been on the land since Adam was a kid, and through our family tree, it is evident that my family die of accidents on the farm at a very old age! One ancestor was run over by a bullock wagon at 95 years, and my grandfather was knocked over by a big cranky steer in the cattle yards when he was 88. Now that we have motorbikes and quad bikes and ultralights, I can’t see the trend changing!
Then there’s the other issue – when the farm runs at a “tax” loss from time to time, sometimes a few years in a row, how can you possibly justify an income protection insurance policy at all, let alone apply a decent monetary value to it.
Refreshingly though, times are changing. With the much greater emphasis on safety around farm equipment, the greater awareness of rural workers of safety issues and the ability in many cases to get treatment relatively quickly (faster at least than a speeding bullock wagon) in hospitals of reasonable quality – providing we don’t keep losing them from the bush, and the amazing and wonderful Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), if something does go wrong, the outcomes are more likely to be treated and less severe than say 50 or even 20 years ago.
The result is that at least one of the insurance companies has come to the party with a guaranteed income protection policy for farmers and rural workers, regardless of tax returns, and at a much more reasonable price! You don’t need to submit tax returns to get a payment of $3,500 per month for an accident and illness claim, and if you do have reasonable income shown on a tax return, you can get a whole lot more.
They have also given farmers their own classification now, rather than lumping them in with manual labourers or underground miners. The new classification has greatly reduced their costs of insurance for both life and income protection types of insurance.
Other companies have gone in different directions. One offers a “Best Doctor” service, giving you independent and free medical opinions from a panel of peer reviewed doctors from wherever necessary to make sure you get the best medical attention possible if you should happen to need it. At no additional cost to you as their client.
Yet another company offers a service that can have your acceptance times cut to a matter of days or even hours from application time to you being fully insured. They are setting industry standards globally for reducing paperwork and underwriting times.
If you’d like to discuss any of these changing issues, I’m happy to help you with them. Whilst insurance is not a happy subject, it’s not one we can afford to dismiss in today’s economic climate either. With weather and markets sometimes seeming to conspire against the man on the land, we don’t need to take a chance with bad luck either!