GPA is forming a working group to identify key issues on crop fires.
MANUKA, AUSTRALIA – Grain Producers Australia (GPA) said on March 19 that reports of insurance no longer being available to contract harvesters due to fire risk are exaggerated, following a meeting between GPA’s Grains Policy Council, Grains Research and Development Corp. (GRDC), Australian Custom Harvesters (ACH) and representatives of major insurance providers to explore the issue.


GPA president Andrew Weidemann said the clear message was that insurance continues to be available for contractors and growers, regardless of whether they are harvesting cereals, oilseeds, pulses or any other grain crop.

“It’s a highly competitive space in respect of both premiums and product offerings and the clear message was that insurers are prepared to work with clients, or potential clients, to meet their needs,” Weidemann said. “Header fires are an extremely serious issue for all involved, which in worst case scenarios can be many people far beyond the initial ignition point and is why all people working in harvest operations should know about and use all appropriate strategies to avoid or contain fires.

He said insurers who met with the groups emphasized the long-term nature of their businesses.

“Australian Custom Harvesters, which was previously known as the Australian Grain Harvesters Association, explained to us the steps taken by professional operators to manage fire risks and discussed the operational and business challenges they face,” Weidemann said. “GRDC emphasized that considerable research work is already available on many aspects of crop fires including key risk factors and mitigation, with modern monitoring and communication technology offering growers and contractors much greater scope to manage the issues than in years past.”

GPA will form a working group with farming representatives, insurers, ACH representatives and researchers to help identify key research areas, and to guide and prioritize the research, he said.

There was a clear message from insurers that it is “business as usual.” Each harvesting business seeking insurance presents a different situation, claims history and risk analysis so they can talk to several insurance providers about what products are available and what they can do to minimize and manage fire risk, Weidemann said.