LANDHOLDERS affected by major insurer IAG’s decision to withdraw public liability coverage for farmers with Coal Seam Gas (CSG) operations or infrastructure on their properties have been urged to look to the company’s competitors for coverage.
Major insurer Insurance Australia Group (IAG), which includes subsidiaries WFI and CGU, has confirmed its public liability and farm business insurance policies do not cover land and water contamination or the risk of farmers losing industry accreditation in the event of a spill, or gas infrastructure failure.
“Without insurance, farmers can’t farm – this could have devastating implication for thousands of primary producers, their families, their communities and the nation itself,” AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said
“So far, only two insurers – albeit Australia’s largest – have taken this unreasonable stance, but where they lead others may follow.”
Mr Guerin said AgForce was working with the insurers concerned, the Australian Insurance Council, the resources sector, the Queensland Gas Fields Commission, and the State and Federal Government to ensure producers have access to adequate, affordable insurance to enable them to continue to grow food and fibre.
The Lock the Gate Alliancce is calling for an urgent and total overhaul of Conduct and Compensation Agreement processes, saying current agreements do not cover landholders as they do not require gas companies to hold insurance against these risks.
The GasFields Commission Queensland held an online briefing with all stakeholders and Government last Friday to discuss the landholder liability insurance issue.
It said that was broad agreement there are still multiple insurers continuing to offer public liability insurance for landholders who have gas activities on their properties.
“Landholders should discuss coverage with their insurance agent/broker and ensure they understand the extent of the cover being offered,” the commission advised in an online statement following last Friday’s meeting.
APPEA Limited, the body representing gas companies, urged landholders to look to other insurers.
“This is a decision by one company – landholders can get public liability cover from IAG’s competitors,” APPEA Ltd Queensland director Georgy Mayo said in a statement to Beef Central this week.
“This issue only relates to very unlikely scenario where farming activities impact gas facilities.
“Gas companies hold their own insurance and offer indemnities as part of land access agreements that protect landholders for any impact of gas activities on their land. Financial assurance is in place with government to cover rehabilitation.
“Importantly, we note insurance is a highly technical subject.
“Landholders that host gas activities – or indeed any third party infrastructure – should discuss the specifics with their insurer and the company concerned.
“We are confident any concerns in relation to gas activities can be resolved.”
Mr Mayo said APPEA was working together with Queensland’s farming peak bodies and the Queensland Gasfields Commission on the issue.