Wednesday, December 12, 2007

12th December, 2007 NFU Mutual Insurance

Business insurance is one of those subjects that is guaranteed to increase the blood pressure of most Recommended Associates. Until recently I have been insured with NFU and was happy. However, I wrote to them and asked whether they would cover me to run Handling the Wild Pony Courses. They wrote back and said that they didn't want to cover me and what's more they'd looked at my blog site and didn't really want to cover me for semi-feral, rescue or unbroken ponies either! Well, as most of the ponies I work with would tick one, two or even three of those boxes if they had opposing thumbs that didn't look like a fat lot of use to me. I pulled out my original proposal form and was able to prove categorically that they knew I was going to "break" ponies in - by definition they must arrive unbroken and they grudgingly said they would cover me for everything until the policy ran out. Needless to say I have gone elsewhere this time. The South Essex Insurance Brokers were the only company I contacted that were prepared to go through a list of the day to day things that I do and indicate that they would cover everything - all of the others just threw a bog standard policy document at me and said erm, that might do it. I can't afford to have that uncertainty. I need to know that if I am working with an Exmoor pony with a star in the middle of his face that I am just as insured as if he were a middle of the road, well mannered, well-bred and psychologically sound cob. And if I'm on the telly, or loaning my round pen panels or giving long-reining lessons with Petra, the queen of long-reining, I need to know that we've got it all covered. There's a curious thing with insurance policies which is called "Uberima Fides" which means that you have an obligation to inform your insurance company of anything that could affect your insurance policy; if you don't tell them everything, they have the right to avoid liability if something goes wrong. I do wonder how many people who are involved with horses as professionals or amateurs are properly insured for what they do. As an ex-lawyer I am very cautious - everyone is your friend until they have an accident and even then it's not them that sue you - it's their insurance company or their lawyer or their family.