Farm Ireland
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Monday 18 February 2019

Mart manager calls for united front to fight insurance hikes

Eimear McGuinness
Eimear McGuinness
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

A mart manager who has seen her insurance premium double in the last three years has sent out a questionnaire to every mart in the country to find out if accidents are increasing and leading to higher premiums.

Donegal mart manager Eimear McGuinness told the Farming Independent that the mart's insurance has doubled from €6,500 in 2015 to €13,500 in 2018, even though no accidents took place on the premises in this period, she claimed.

"It costs us €400 to open the door because of insurance. That's a wage. Mountrath Mart had to close down because of insurance. It's not sustainable," she said.

"Why should all marts have to pay? It's hard enough for marts to make money with reduced suckler numbers.

"I know of one mart that was told to make health and safety changes to the mart and then its insurance premium would reduce, but because they needed more staff to load cattle, their wage bill increased."

Ms McGuinness questioned the accuracy of FBD's claims on the frequency and severity of accidents in marts.

Claims

That is why she has sent the questionnaire, to find out information on accidents, premiums and claims.

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"It's in every mart's interest to complete this questionnaire. FBD were asked by the Public Finance Committee last year to show them that there was an increased number of claims and it has failed to do so," she claimed.

"I don't think there are as many accidents as insurers say, but if there are, we need to talk and make sense of the situation. If there is a problem with accidents we will do something to face it together."

The meeting will take place on March 2 in the Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone at 2pm.

Ms McGuinness said options such as self-insurance and how to deal with small claims will be discussed.

Last week, FBD issued a ­statement warning: "­Unfortunately until there is a change in the frequency and severity of accidents in marts, mart premia will remain stubbornly high.

"The operating environment for marts has changed significantly in recent times.

"Less docile animals are ­being presented for sale as part of a changing livestock mix in Ireland and this combined with the age profile of some mart patrons presents a very challenging environment."

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