AFTER years of watching farmers lose thousands of dollars whenever the growing season did not go to plan, two Horsham men decided something needed to be done.
Darryl McCrae and Brendan Reinheimer have started a multi-peril crop insurance company, SureSeason, which they hope will offer growers more protection than ever before.
Mr McCrae said the national company was based in Horsham, but would support growers throughout Australia.
He said this year, many Wimmera growers were hit with a late season frost, which demonstrated the need for better protection.
“In times of peril events, growers need both emotional and financial support,” he said. “We can’t eliminate loss, but we can reduce the effects of it.”
Mr McCrae has worked in the agricultural industry for 30 years.
“I’ve seen many years where we’ve had good crops, but then a peril event will take the cream off at the end,” he said.
“Farmers have to go back to the bank, borrow more money to try to put next year’s crop in, while being concerned about what happens if something goes wrong again.
“By the time something happens, many farmers have already spent 80 to 100 per cent of their budget only to lose it all in the last six to eight weeks.”
Mr McCrae said they first started developing SureSeason in 2008.
“We interviewed many growers around the country about what they wanted protection for,” he said.
“We wanted to create a product that gave growers light at the end of the tunnel and at the very least would cover their costs in a bad year. If farmers can get their costs covered, they finish the year in the same position they started in.”
Mr McCrae said most multi-peril insurances covered for two things – fire and hail.
“But these aren’t of major concern to growers,” he said.
“The major reasons we have for loss is moisture – either too much, not enough or frost.”
SureSeason Crop Insurance covers a range of weather events, including drought, water stress, heat stress, flood, hail, wind, frost, lightning and excessive rain.
It also covered wildlife, fire, insect and pest manifestation, disease and livestock damage.
“Pretty much the only thing we don’t protect against is farmer error,” Mr McCrae said.
He said all winter crops were covered. Mr McCrae said there were 70 different cover options for farmers.
He said SureSeason was also working with the state and federal governments to create more education awareness around crop insure.
“There are federal government grants available for farmers to investigate multi-peril options,” he said.
Mr McCrae said SureSeason charged a one-off cost to do a risk assessment and quote for growers, but a rebate was available from the federal government to cover some of the costs.
“We know multi-peril insurances have been tried before, but we are confident our product will have a place if growers want to look at it.”
Mr McCrae said they were now taking applications for 2018.