LONG STANDING problems with accessing travel insurance faced by veterinarians and stock handlers working on live export ships have been solved, with Nutrien Ag Solutions and the sector's peak council launching a new tailored product.
The pandemic has exacerbated the need for affordable live-ex travel insurance, particularly medical coverage, with the costs of treatment and flights home should someone contract COVID while in a foreign port potentially running into the hundreds of thousands.
The inability for contractors, who are not covered by export company insurance policies, to get any coverage - or the exorbitant costs where it was available - was keeping crew off ships.
Industry representatives said it had reached the point where ships would not have set sail last year had some stockies not taken the risk and travelled uninsured.
Given the scramble for staff already at play, that was a serious challenge for the industry, Australian Livestock Exporters Council Council chief executive officer Mark Harvey-Sutton said.
Nutrien Ag Solutions was made aware of the issue through its corporate partnership roles with ALEC and went to work on finding a solution, bringing in insurance broker Marsh and ultimately the insurer, Accident and Health International.
The result was the launch just before Christmas of a per-trip travel insurance product tailored to the livestock export business.
Nutrien Ag Solutions insurance manager for the South East Chris Agnew said it was clear that reasonably priced insurance for vets and stockies was vital to keeping the live-ex trade afloat.
"As individuals, they had no chance of getting insurance so our approach was using economy of scale," he said.
"It's in our DNA to find solutions for ag industries and the wider regional communities they support."
Several dozen trips have been covered so far, which given the drastically reduced nature of live export at the moment on the back of a severe shortage of cattle supply, is an extremely strong uptake.
"Developing a tailored insurance solution for the live export industry, offers an assurance that there are options and coverage in place in case things do not go to plan," Mr Agnew said.
"A great feature is a 24 hour hotline available to policy holders who find they need medical assistance while overseas."
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