Farm vehicles hit by insurance rise

24 Apr, 2001 10:00 PM
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ALL farm vehicles should be isolated from current assessment methods used to calculate third party insurance.

That's the pith of the argument from the WA Farmers Federation, which has voiced its protest on the increase in third party insurance premiums, to take effect from July.

According to WAFF transport spokesman Peter Wahlsten, there has been a two per cent rise in private motor vehicle insurance equating to about $5, a 33pc rise in forklifts, farm tractors, headers and other self-propelled machines, equating to about $8 and a 10pc rises in goods vehicle insurance (utility, van, truck) equating to about $20.

WAFF was seeking to meet with assistant Treasurer Nick Griffiths to explain the situation and have a reclassification of farm vehicles.

"The problem is that farm vehicles are lumped in with all other vehicles in the state and are rated accordingly based on the overall risk," he said.

"What we want is to identify the actual farm equipment in the calculations and isolate the risk of those vehicles to come up with a more equitable figure.

"At the moment, farmers who for example, have trucks and the like doing very low kilometres will pay an extra $20 a year just the same as couriers, for example, who travel on the roads every day of the year.

"Once again cross subsidisation by the farming community is evident."

Perhaps surprisingly, Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said farmers should urge the Insurance Commission (which recommended the increases) to "de-link" farming equipment from other industry sectors.

"The farming industry could argue it has a better record than the premiums being charged and the Insurance Commission should make changes," he said.

"It would be a perfectly reasonable argument and one I would be happy to support.

"I would be surprised if tractors showed up as a high risk (warranting a higher percentage price rise) but I don't have all the information."

Mr Chance said the price hikes were unfortunate "but that's the way the structure is".

"It's something for the industry and the Industrial Commission to sort out," he said.

National Party leader Max Trenorden criticised the increases.

"At this time, when farmers, contractors and small business operators in rural communities are experiencing financial hardship, a 33pc increase in tractors, tractor plants and forklifts, a 25pc increase in school bus rates, 10pc on goods vehicles and nearly 300pc on tow trucks is unconscionable," he said.

"There is a clear suspicion that the increase in rates is simply a way of increasing revenue and not as a result of proven claims experience.

"Unless the Insurance Commission proved its need, farmers and small business can reasonably believe that the Labor Party has selectively rated preferred voters yet again."

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