Greenhouse operations must deal with many types of hazards, both on and off-site, as well as employees who are susceptible to workplace injuries. Several factors, such as the size and type of greenhouses, the crops grown, the size of the vehicle fleet, and climatic factors, can help determine what those hazards are.
hortica®, a brand of the sentry insurance group, offers four main types of insurance for greenhouse operations: commercial auto insurance, workers’ compensation, blanket coverage and the company’s commercial package policy, says john hodapp , director of operations of agencies in hortica.
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industry standard policies
While agent expertise, loss control and claims services can vary widely, auto, workers’ compensation and general policy forms are standard throughout the insurance industry, hodapp says. Workers’ compensation is required by law to protect workers in any industry, and auto insurance applies to almost all greenhouses. “I’ve never seen a greenhouse operation that didn’t have at least a small fleet of vehicles,” she says. “They can use common carriers or contract carriers, but they usually have some of their own trucks. they have some service trucks, maybe some company cars.”
Auto and general liability policies provide protection up to the amount of the policy limits, hodapp says. umbrella coverage goes further, providing additional coverage in situations such as a serious accident or general liability claim. “It’s a policy that provides protection in the event of a very serious loss that exhausts the insurance limits provided by other policies,” he says.
a policy above the bar
Providing property, liability, and business income insurance, the Hortica Commercial Package Policy is specifically geared toward greenhouse operations and growers. “It’s really unique,” says Hodapp. “It’s not like you can buy it from every insurance agent on the high street.”
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Property coverage covers greenhouses, buildings and what the company calls “business personal property,” such as facilities, equipment and the plants themselves, Hodapp says. Plants are perishable, so growers need coverage for utility outages and equipment breakdowns to protect them, hodapp says.
The commercial package policy’s liability coverage kicks in if someone is injured on the greenhouse’s premises, or if the greenhouse sells a defective plant or product and causes injury or property damage, Hodapp says.
Business income insurance comes into play when businesses lose profits because they can’t operate their business as they normally do due to a covered loss, Hodapp says. “The policy provides coverage to pay for lost profits and ongoing expenses, so they can continue to employ key personnel, such as their producer, and continue to meet their financial obligations: loans, taxes, etc.”
decide on a plan
Greenhouse managers need to find the insurance coverage that works for them, hodapp says. In general, larger account owners select higher deductibles and, in terms of liability, purchase higher overall limits. Weather is also a determining factor: growers in cold, snowy climates are going to have different considerations than growers in hot climates. If a boiler breaks in a greenhouse in Minnesota, it’s usually more of a concern than if a boiler breaks in a greenhouse in South Florida.
The risk management process is a tool often used to help growers select types and amounts of coverage, hodapp says. To manage risk, greenhouse managers can meet with insurance agents to identify exposures and formulate a plan to address them. “It may not necessarily always be insurance, but there is a process that we go through to identify what the risks are, determine which ones need to be insured,” Hodapp says. “That’s what we do. It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of show.”
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hodapp says that greenhouse owners have different levels of financial resources and “risk appetite.” those with more financial resources or less risk appetite often choose to insure as much as they can, while those with fewer financial resources or greater risk appetite often choose to retain some risk.
Choosing the right insurance comes down to choosing the right insurance company, hodapp says. “To get the job done right, you need to work with a company that specializes and has the experience to do it right,” he says.
Hortica® Property & Casualty coverages are underwritten and loss control services are provided by Florists Mutual Insurance Company and Florists Insurance Company, members of the Sentinel Insurance Group. For more information, visit hortica.com. policies, coverages, benefits and discounts are not available in all states. see policy for complete coverage details.
77-48 24001835 8/5/17
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