background image
and engage the agri-community and encourage farmers to
make small changes to working behaviours. There were
17 safety-related deaths in farming in 2018 and when you
analyse these further you see that over 38 per cent of these
deaths were people over the age of 65, and 10 per cent are
children. Fifty-one per cent of deaths involved tractors
and machinery. Machinery is also getting bigger and more
complex and we are asking farmers to slow down, bearing
in mind that they are under huge pressure."
Last year, in conjunction with IFA, FBD held 33 regional
meetings focusing on farmers' insurance needs and life and
pensions requirements.
In February FBD announced a partnership with ICOS and
Associated Livestock Marts to seek solutions to help tackle
the cost of insurance, while also addressing procedures
to try and ensure that mart lockdown is not enforced
upon marts. "However, we must be mindful that where
mart lockdown is applied we have seen reduced accident
A farm safety conference on May 1st, , in conjunction with
the HSE titled `Safeguarding the Future of Farming' is
another example of FBD's commitment to the farm safety
message: "Promoting farm safety is a priority in FBD and
we have distributed 85,000 farm safety signs across the
country to date to help build awareness of safety on a
daily basis for farmers. We witness the fallout from farm
accidents first-hand all too often at FBD. While FBD
can help with the financial loss, the grief and pain that
accompany all serious and fatal accidents is immense and
no amount of money ever gives a family back what is lost."
Irish pride
By international standards, FBD Insurance is small, so is
there any consideration for a partnership or merger in the
future with another insurer? John reverts immediately
to the company's Irish roots as a key USP for FBD. "We
are very proud of the fact that we are Ireland's only Irish
indigenous insurer. While we are a small player, playing
with all the big boys, our outlook for the future remains
positive we announced strong profits in February and
will be proposing a 50c dividend to our shareholders once
approved at our AGM on May 10th. It is very important for
our customers that FBD is financially strong as, similar to
farming, in insurance you never know what is around the
"We are operating in a highly competitive market and we
feel our distribution makes us different but we need to be
careful with our decision-making as we don't have a wealthy
parent to bail us out if things go wrong. We have to stand on
our own two feet. We successfully exited the Fairfax bond
last year which was a great result.
"We continue to promote the fact that we are Irish. We
offer differentiation from our competitors by offering a
premium product and service in conjunction with our
distribution channels. We believe we are offering the best
cover in the market at a fair price we will not change that
or cheapen our product in an effort to be more competitive
as we want to be there for our customers for the times
when things go wrong or accidents occur. That can be
a difficult position to be in when you have competition
coming in with lower prices but our obligation is to do right
by our customers and that means offering the right product
for a fair price."
"We have a very loyal customer base and it is important
that we don't take these customers for granted. We strive
to give our customers reasons to stay with us. Complacency
is something not to be tolerated we want to be on the
customer's side; we have a `customer first' ethos in the
company as without our loyal customers we would not have
a business ."
Ensuring value
John is also keen to point out the issue around fraudulent
claims, which is a contributory factor to the cost of
insurance right across the industry. "All claims are
thoroughly investigated and the appropriate measures are
taken. Our Claims Director, Jackie McMahon, has been very
vocal about this issue and we have highlighted that as much
as 40 per cent of costs around claims goes towards legal
costs." Jackie has also noted the need for internationally
bench-marked awards , pointing to the fact that "in Ireland
we pay about three times the amount for soft tissue injuries
than they do in the UK."
Concluding, John states: "FBD has been through a tough
time, like all insurers around town, and our CEO has done a
good job for FBD while navigating this turbulent period. We
are now back in profit and it is important as an Irish insurer
that we maintain that profit. We have a responsibility to
our customers and with over 500,000 policies, we plan
to grow across all our channels and not forgetting our
primary customer base being farmers. We want to be the
Irish insurer of choice and constantly strive to enhance
our offering for both new and existing customers and have
some exciting developments in the pipeline."
MAY 2019
MAY 2019
Ciaran Roche, FBD Risk
Manager and Company
Safety Manager, with
John Cahalan, FBD Chief
Commercial O cer
Ciaran Roche, FBD
Risk Manager and
Company Safety
Manager, with John
Cahalan, FBD Chief
Commercial O cer