Accident claims at marts are driving the cost of insurance to be a loss-making business, something that needs to change, the CEO of FBD has said.
FBD CEO Fiona Muldoon said FBD insures the vast majority of the marts in the Republic of Ireland, but it is losing 140pc on average across the board by taking them on.
“By insuring marts, on average, we are losing 140pc every year, this is not sustainable and needs to change,” she told the recent ICOS conference.
According to FBD, the most common cause of liability claims at marts are injuries caused by livestock.
Ciaran Roche Risk Manger with FBD said one of the more common accidents at marts happens when cattle are being loaded and unloaded and can kick or crush people.
Another common claim, he said, is incidents involving gates hitting a member of the public or an employee.
He also said that people with their arms up on barriers around the main mart ring were also more likely to be involved in an accident and making a claim.
Many mart managers voiced their concerns about how the rising price of insurance is placing more pressure on marts and making it harder for the marts to stay open.
“Marts will become another part of the local community to go if there isn’t something to be done to save them. We’ve already seen the local post offices close and pubs shutting down left right and centre - is this the future of the mart?” said one mart official at the conference.
Mart Co-Op boards across the country are considering a series of recommendations drawn up to help reduce accident risk levels and lower insurance premiums, with many marts in the west already implementing these regulations.
Among the risk-reducing recommendations being considered after ICOS and marts met last December include ensuring that members of the public do not have access to the penning areas and central passageways.
It is also looking at making it compulsory that all mart staff wear jackets for clearer identification.
In addition, mart drovers would supervise all loading and unloading of cattle. Another measure is to restrict viewing times of the cattle on sale, where farmers are allocated 30-60 minutes to see the stock before the sale.
One measure also being considered would include ensuring the back ramp is opened and closed by the farmer rather than mart staff as this would mark a transition from the farmer's insurance on to the mart.