American farming has come a long way in our short life compared to Europe, Egypt, and China. Our history as an independent country is very young. But in this time we have gone from using a plow, which in its day was quite the invention, to using seeders, choppers, and manure spreaders. Big equipment continues to evolve to the point where it doesn’t even need a driver because it is controlled by GPS!
Amazing advancements, right? But with this ever changing industry we also have to change how we write insurance for it. Equipment that has a driver to control it has different risks than equipment that is using GPS and technology to run it. While they are being operated differently, there are ways they still carry the same risks.
Similar risks, let’s say for a chopper, driven by a person vs. GPS:
*Equipment Breakdown- The equipment can get something jammed into the system that would cause it to break and require repair.
*Collision- You can still run into something, either another piece of equipment in the field or a person. What caused the collision is different (driver error vs. computer error) but the resulting collision damage to the chopper is still the same.
Different risks for a chopper driven by a person vs GPS:
*Hacking- A system ran by a computer, an i-Pad, or a mobile device that is connected to wireless internet or a server can be hacked. Having coverage for this risk cannot always be found on your standard Farm owner's policy.
*Driver Injury- If the chopper would happen to collide with another object, you have the potential of injury to the driver.
One change that has occurred no matter what piece of equipment a farmer is buying is the cost. Something that once cost $50,000 now can cost well above $300,000. These changes in value and how the equipment are operated need to be understood and properly insured. As an agent specializing in agribusiness and farming, it is my job to know and understand how your insurance needs to cover you as your farm evolves and the equipment you have varies.
It’s amazing to see how the agriculture industry/community adapt and overcome some of the toughest situations, and in doing so they become inventive. As we grow our history every day, I have no doubt we will continue to evolve and with it, the insurance industry also needs to evolve.
By Samantha Brensinger / Lead Farm Agent, AFIS