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Veldfires in South Africa have a devastating impact on agriculture and run into millions of Rands of damages to property, food security, loss of human lives, livestock, game and grassland annually. One of the best ways to proactively fight fire risk is for farmers to become members of registered Fire Protection Associations (FPAs).
What’s more, if your agriculture client belongs to an FPA, Santam will offer them discounted rates on their insurance premiums. Santam Agriculture has a thorough understanding of liability cover and claims handling in respect of veldfires and compliance with the National Veld and Forest Fire Act of 1998.
Benefits of belonging to an FPA
There are numerous benefits for farmers to become members of a registered FPA:
In the event of a veld fire, the landowner may call on a Work on Fire team for assistance. In the event of him/her being a member of an FPA, he/she only has to pay for the fuel of their vehicles to get to the farm and providing them with food (the variable costs). If the landowner is however not a member of an FPA, he/she will be responsible for all their costs such as the use of their equipment, clothing etc.
No local FPA? How to start one
Although the Act does not require farmers to belong to an FPA, the Act allows farmers who are already members of a Farmers’ Association in a specific region to form an FPA in their area. That FPA will lay down rules and regulations, which will be applicable to all members of the FPA. Such an FPA must be registered by the Department of Agriculture as an approved FPA by the Minister.
Are firebreaks necessary?
The Act stipulates, if a fire could start or burn on a farmer’s land, or if a fire could spread from their land, the landowner has to make and maintain a firebreak on the boundary of the land. FPAs do however, have the right to decide at their discretion, at a recognised or constitutional meeting, whether they want firebreaks in their area or not. The decision is subject to an application by the FPA to the Minister and any firebreak concessions must be done in terms of Section 15 of the Act. In terms of the Act, the Minister may exempt any owner or group of owners from the duty of making firebreaks and special conditions may be set for such an exemption. The Minister will register and issue a certificate if he is satisfied that there are capacity and representation.
Santam’s interpretation of the The National Veld and Forest Fire Act of 1998
Santam’s premium and excess incentives to FPA approved members
In view of the increased risk management and legislative benefits provided by FPA membership, Santam will be offering premium and excess incentives to members of approved well-functioning FPAs. The approval and grading of FPAs are being piloted in the Free State. Belonging to a First class Fire Protection Association is in everyone’s interests (government, landowners and insurers) as it demonstrates a clear commitment from all parties involved that they are on board to both mitigate the veldfire problem and that compliance governance issues are in order. Once this is formalised this process may be rolled out to other provinces. Santam will notify intermediaries and request that you spread the message to your clients.
If you’d like to know more about these incentives, speak to your relationship manager. For more advice tailored to intermediaries, visit our blog, where you will find more useful articles, such as how much legal liability insurance farmers should have.
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