A Farm Insurance Brokers Guide: The Importance of Professional Chimney Sweeping.

During these winter months, it is more important than ever to heed the crucial aspects of chimney sweeping. Informing farmers on fire safety regulations and the necessary requirements should the unexpected happen and the need for a claim to occur. This can make all the difference to a fire damage claim being paid out. In an industry where livelihoods hang in the balance, having a trusted partner who understands the complexities, risks and intricacies of farming can make all the difference.

Land Based Underwriters, Protecting Against Farm Fires

Let’s delve into statistics: Gov.uk published that 2,551 chimney fires occurred between June 2022 – June 2023 in England; a further 7,001 fires occurred between this date due to misuse of equipment or appliances, the critical observation being that most of these incidents were entirely avoidable. Many of these fires occurred in agricultural buildings and thatched dwellings or within the farming community. As underwriters, we have observed a longstanding requirement from insurers for policyholders to engage in professional chimney sweeping services, particularly when dealing with thatched dwellings.

Traditionally, many landlords and tenants—especially those in the agricultural community—use their own brushes for cleaning chimneys. Farmers run the danger of their fire damage claim not being reimbursed by some insurers, even though this degree of housekeeping preserves fire safety. It is recommended to have a professional chimney sweeping service performed on a regular basis—up to three times throughout the burning season. Regularly inspecting and professionally cleaning chimneys and flues can help avoid chimney fires and facilitate an insurance claim in the case of an occurrence.

At Land Based Underwriters, we take great satisfaction in being at the forefront of cutting-edge farm insurance solutions. We are aware of the holes in traditional insurance coverage and actively work to fill them in so that you and your clients are safeguarded. We understand entirely that a farmer's livelihood is vital. The following are the essential topics to cover with your clients:

  • Work with a licenced chimney sweeping company that has received approval from The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS). Regardless of the fuel type, this service should be performed on a regular basis—at least once a season or up to three times during the winter when demand has grown.
  • Make sure that every burned wood has a moisture level of no more than 17% by using a wood moisture meter.
  • Before leaving the house or turning in for the night, ensure all flames are safely extinguished.
  • It's crucial to get the right-sized appliance for the space that has to be heated. The official organisation acknowledged by the government is HETAS.

It's worth being aware of the most common causes of chimney fires, which are:

  • Burning improper fuel types, such as unseasoned wet wood.
  • Infrequent sweeping and cleaning of blocked flues
  • Overnight burning or smouldering of wood for long periods of time in wood stoves.
  • Improper appliance sizing

Without the proper insurance coverage, farms and smallholdings may be liable for losses of tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds, including the price of environmental clean-up and the replacement of agricultural facilities. In addition to managing the claim and providing crucial support, Land Based Underwriters provide crucial help during difficult times. We are aware that a farmer's possessions are more than simply buildings; they are essential to their way of life, and that a loss can have significant and lasting effects.

Get in Touch with Land based Underwriters

Mid-winter is ultimately the time to prioritise the safety of clients’ farms and homes. Chimney sweeping by certified professionals is not just a seasonal chore but an essential step in protecting farms, assets and livestock. For farm insurance brokers looking for assistance in analysing the unique risks involved in farming insurance, get in touch with our expert insurance underwriters today, who will be happy to help with your client's requirements.