Public liability coverage is something businesses of all kinds possess to make certain people hurt on their property have access to compensation. Obtaining this insurance is an important part of running an organisation. For this reason, it is concerning to farmers that they are having trouble receiving public liability policies when they have coal steam gas infrastructure.
There is a controversy brewing in Australian agriculture: ABC News reported that Insurance Australia Group, the country's largest insurer, will no longer cover public liability for farms that have CSG energy equipment on their properties. Farmers in Queensland reacted to this change by saying that their ability to run both gas infrastructure and agriculture on the same property was being endangered by the inability to receive public liability insurance, and furthermore that they may soon be exposed to increased related risk from their CSG operations, groundwater contamination included.
Queensland Country Life reported more concern from farm owners. The shadow agriculture minister for the state suggested CSG companies would have to pay back the difference in the increased costs farmers are set to face. The energy providers and farms have to work together to make their two industries grow. There are thousands of these CSG wells being used in Queensland today – potentially over 6,700, according to Queensland Country Life.
The issue has become so contentious that the Insurance Council of Australia recently grouped together with other industry bodies both at state and national levels to reassure farmers that they are indeed able to still get private liability insurance if they have gas infrastructure. The statement does contain exceptions, however, with the warning that coverage for farms is meant to reflect the risk of agriculture, not energy production or other related activities. The ICA and others suggest that indemnities and laws around the energy sector provide the other necessary protections.
The insuring bodies went on to note that an ideal outcome of the situation would be for land access agreements to contain a uniform indemnity agreement in writing, with all insurance for farms also containing uniform public liability rules.
If you have been injured in an incident that occurred on agricultural land, with or without gas infrastructure, you may be eligible to make a claim against the farm's personal liability insurance. To determine your case's chance of success and make the most effective possible next steps, you should speak with experienced public liability lawyers. Gerard Malouf & Partners' experts are available at 1800 005 878 or you may email your enquiry.