Small Woodland Owners' Group

Beech Tree insurance

Paperwork, grants, legal issues

Postby tracy » Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:53 am

As you know we have been looking for insurance specific to woodland owners. We have come across an interesting possibility. Gary Alexander from Beech Tree insurance can do cover for us for a range of needs at a realistic price. He is going to post some information here. Once he has done this, let's use the forum as a FAQ section on insurance. I can then send interested people a quote application form. (very simple one) The quote application does not mean you have to take up the insurance. SWOG has done all we can to look into this for you - but please note: this is your choice! Please make sure you understand exactly what is and isn't covered and that you are happy with the quote.

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Postby Exeldama » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:30 pm

Please send me a form when your at that point please... thanks

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Postby tracy » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:11 am

Gary says:

"Public and products Liability of £5m

Employer's Liability to cover all but the actual owner/policyholder for any work - £10m

Optional cover for equipment: price will depend upon total value, no breakdown of that value is required. Includes whilst in use.


Liability: the first £250 of each claim;

Equipment: 20% of the claim but maximum excess to be £100.

Premium will depend upon whether the wood is a commercial venture (income of over £5,000) or a conservation/recreational one (income of under £5,000 or none at all) and the size of the wood.

Use of power tools accepted, preferably with trained personnel using them.

Also if the wood has public access, this will have some (very small) effect on the premium, as will ponds, rivers and other hazards. Plus, if the wood is used for public events such as tours, concerts and so on, we will work this into the quotation too.

The idea is that each premium will be worked out based upon each owner's circumstances, whilst keeping these additional factors to a minimum. That way, those who have higher risk factors will have a slightly increased premium.

All quotes will be based upon the info given in the proposal form or directly to me by email if the form can't be completed at that time.

Indication of premium? We are looking at an average, for Liabilities, of around £250.00 for a year's cover.

Insurer: Oxygen, Lloyd's.

All questions welcomed..."

I will email the quote form to interested people later on, when I get a chance!


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Postby MartreCycle » Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:30 am

Some scenario questions ( if this not okay - please say):

I cut down a tree - it falls across BT's phone Line - Will Insurance payout for BT's repair bill?

A tree falls ( not obvious rot) across BT's phone Line during a storm - Will Insurance Payout for BT's repair bill ?

Someone goes walking around my wood - they twist their ankle - They want to sue me - will insurance pay my legal bill and any costs from the claimant ?

Someone decides to swim in my pond - they drown - their relations want to sue - will insurance pay my legal bill and any costs ?

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Postby MartinD » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:39 pm

to add to martecycle's list

Q2 - obvious rot - obvious to who? Should trees be inspected by a qualified person on a regular basis - how regular? If the advice is that the rotten tree is a good wildlife habitat and should not be removed, should the qualified person underwrite their advice?

Q4 - If I have a pond, should I fence it off, or is it up to the footpath user's (or trespasser's) common sense to stay away from the water? If not a fence, should I have a sign warning walkers of deep water?

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Postby tracy » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:25 pm

Brilliant questions, thanks. Gary will reply as soon as he gets a chance

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Postby jillybean » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:03 pm

Some tresspassing kids investigate a squirrel trap, open the box and lose a finger.

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Postby Exeldama » Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:29 pm

You have a footpath / bridleway within the boundary and some numpty doesnt realise nature can sting you, break you and generally squish you into small peices..(if it feels fit). Would the fact you think it midly amussing be grounds for a claim..!

Bridleways....horrid things. Horses cost more to fix than the average pedestrian... so i wonder if the rider should have their horse insured as well.?

Fire is an interesting one.... what if you leave brash piles and dried bracken etc... then it goes up act of god of negligent maintainance...soooo many nuiances.

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Postby thebeechtree » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:09 pm

Hi all, good questions and I'm pleased to see some interest. I'm out most of tomorrow (Tuesday 21st) but will put some answers on here hopefully tomorrow evening.


(the name is entirely coincidental by the way - I named the business after my beloved beech!)

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Postby thebeechtree » Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:52 pm

Hi, sorry for the delay; it's festival season and I tend to get bogged down dealing with last minute requests for cover at this time of the year.

With regard to the questions, here goes:

Will liability insurance pay out in these given circumstances?

That's not simple to answer because in spite of what the no win, no fee brigade lead you to believe, you don't get a payout just because you've had an accident. It depends very much on the circumstances, as common sense would tell you. A claimant will only get a payout if you, the worker or the owner, have been negligent in something you've done; if you have taken due care in how you conduct yourselves, then a legal action against you is unlikely to succeed. And quite right.

Now, if the question is, will my insurance deal with the claim and cover my defence costs, then yes, it will. So think not along the lines of will it pay the claimant, but will it support me, the policyholder? And yes, that's what it's there for. Even patently stupid claims still have to be defended.

However, there is some doubt about how insurers would deal with something you do deliberately, such as cutting down a tree and it falling across BT lines. You have taken a conscious decision to do this and should take reasonable care about what you do. But a tree falling in a storm for example, is something you obviously didn't do deliberately.

People getting hurt whilst on your land: if they are there legitimately, then they may have a claim succesfully paying out, but again, it all depends on the circumstances of their alleged injury. If they are trespassers, then the courts may take a dimmer view of their actions. But would the policy defend the claim on your behalf? Yes.

Horse owners should have their own cover as a matter of course, but again, if a claim comes in, the policy would deal with it.

Ponds and other hazards: do put up warning signs if practical to do so and the hazrd warrants it.

Inspection of trees: this is likely to be a requirement, perhaps every year and a half or two years; what are the likely costs of this? We don't want to impose something that's going to be onerous or impractical...

That'll do for now; over to the members.


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