Emerging Environmental Risks in Agriculture and Liability

Climate-related losses are increasing, and severe weather is becoming more frequent. Already this year we’ve seen multiple storms and flooding; storm Eunice was the most severe yet, with winds up to 122mph, indicating just how much climate change is impacting on our weather systems. 

Certain activities by people and organisations (whether intentional or not), such as the pollution of rivers, waterways and grassland by pesticides, fuel oil, animal waste or chemicals, to name a few, are exacerbating climate change. As such, the prevention and clean-up of pollution and damage to the environment is an important aspect in terms of keeping Nature at its best. 

Our Environmental Impairment Liability insurance policy is designed to protect against own site and off-site clean-up costs, sudden and gradual pollution, and damage to the environment and protected species. By having the correct protection in place, you will be covered should such negative situations arise for you.

Environmental Damage - Who is Liable?

Climate change has prompted many companies and countries to initiate greener practices. The question that sometimes arises, however, is around liability and who should pay for damage caused.

When it comes to pollution, the ‘polluter pays.’ Often, when the source of the pollution is traced to a single source, the liability solely lies here. However, when traced to multiple sources, these sources can find themselves in litigation to establish the liability, which can be both lengthy and costly. Our Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance can help provide peace of mind when navigating these instances.

Chemical Contaminants within Agriculture

Agricultural contaminants include glyphosate, which can be used to control weeds and help ripen crop; it is essential for the effectivity and productivity of modern farming.  

Agricultural operations could have direct exposure to damages in relation to use of the chemical. This could be from contamination due to drift, for instance with severe winds, or overspray, but to eliminate any concerns, farming practices and cover should be regularly reviewed with immediate notification of any damages, accidental or intentional.

Diseases in Agriculture

Legionella bacteria breeds within natural water systems, such as rivers or ponds, as well as groundwater contaminated with soils or subsoils and troughs. Although the conditions are seldom right for it to thrive, if temperatures are high enough to stimulate growth (20 – 45 °C), problems can occur, and therefore this hazard should be considered and accounted for. It has even been known to cause fatalities within cattle, so it is imperative that steps are taken to protect, not only farm workers, but also livestock.

Where Legionella bacteria breeds in stagnant waters, regular cleaning of troughs and draining when not in use, as well as regular testing of any pipework, is the best way to protect against the disease. Your local Environmental Health department should handle routine basic water testing for free. Farmers may obtain their own potable water for use on their farm without detailed analysis. However, use of water for any other activities should comply with routine water checks, testing and any remedial action should form part of farm management.

Mould – The Insidious Threat

One of the more sinister issues to emerge, and one that can also be quite costly, is mould. Illnesses can be an ongoing liability – mould can cause asthma, sinusitis, skin issues, lung disorders and issues.

Companies should complete regular site assessments, identifying areas of potential risk and concern. Ensure areas are proficiently ventilated and safeguard against potential problems by regularly changing filters for air, water and heating units. Ensure your clients also have the appropriate environmental farm insurance.

Speak to Our Friendly Team

Damage to the environment, caused by pollution and other adverse activities, is something Landbased Underwriters can insure against. We can advise on best practices, as well as support to rectify situations, should a claim need to be made.

If you’d like to speak to one of our experienced environmental insurance specialists to help build comprehensive cover for your clients, call us to see how we can help.