Avian Flu represents a major financial risk to any Poultry Business

As any poultry farmer will know, Avian Influenza is an infectious disease of birds, caused by the Influenza A virus.

Birds are the main carriers of the disease, and it is particularly common in water fowl and shore birds. Domestic poultry are also particularly vulnerable, suffering high mortality rates. If infected, there is a strong chance that these birds will die, with the virus capable of epidemics among flocks.

How does it spread?

The disease is passed on from bird to bird by direct contact or through contaminated bodily fluids and faeces. It can also be spread by contaminated water and feed or by dirty vehicles, clothing and footwear. The most likely time for an outbreak is during migration season.

Government Compensation

Avian Flu is a notifiable disease and qualifies for government compensation, which stands at:

  • 100% of the bird value for non-diseased birds in the culled flock
  • 50% of the bird value for diseased birds in the culled flock

No compensation is available however for any birds that die prior to the outbreak being confirmed.

Therefore, it is a good idea to consider the insurance cover available to ensure you are prepared for a potential Avian Flu outbreak on your farm.

Traditional Mortality Insurance Cover

The traditional policies will pay an agreed percentage of the diseased/culled birds’ value. However, even when taking into account DEFRA compensation, farmers will be increasingly out of pocket the longer they are out of production as they will not be able to generate the income required to cover their monthly overheads and wages.

Secondary Clean Up costs are usually included, with limits dependent on the number of birds housed. Experts estimate that clean-up costs could be up to as much as £10 per bird for egg producers whose layer units are hit by Avian Influenza.

It is clear that farmers need Avian Flu Business Interruption cover to protect them against the prospect of such severe financial losses.

The Solution

McClarrons can arrange a stand-alone Business Interruption Policy protecting all your specified business activities against loss of income, with an indemnity period of up to 12 months. This can include movement restriction and suppliers’ and customers’ premises, if required. The specified business activities can include any other farm business enterprise such as holiday cottages, B&B, Farm Shops, Caravan Parks, etc. that may also be affected by Avian Influenza or be placed in a government movement restriction zone.

We are also able to include a wide range of livestock disease risks including Newcastle Disease, Salmonella, Foot & Mouth, Brucellosis and Vesicular Swine Fever, amongst others.

Despite the recent Avian Flu outbreaks in wild birds, insurers are still providing quotations. However, these are subject to full details of the business operation with biosecurity, stock management and location being of critical importance. Insurers are monitoring the position meaning this could change should conditions with the disease in the UK deteriorate.

If you’d like to know more about the cover available through McClarrons, contact the farm team on 01653 697055 or by emailing farm@mcclarroninsurance.com.

Paul Brook

Author: Paul Brook, Farm Account Executive
Tel: 07809 388118
Email: paul.brook@mcclarroninsurance.com

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