The following is a copy of the NFU insurance statement on GM liability - sent to farmers who are wishing to renew their policies - it makes interesting, though predictable reading - no one is accepting liability - no one will insure - though the NFU seems to think the companies should be taking that responsibility
NFU MUTUAL Business Combined Policy
Notice to Policyholder
The attached Schedule and Specification sets out the cover under your Policy which applies from the Renewal Date and includes some changes to the wording to your Policy which are explained below.
It is therefore important to keep this Document with your Policy. If you have any queries about these changes you should contact your Agent to discuss them.
Genetically Modified Crops
Genetic modification technology offers many interesting new possibilities. However, at this time there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the exact nature of the risks arising from the growing of such crops. This is the reason for the current farm-scale evaluations which will test the whole future of commercial growing and the risks this poses.
For farmers, the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops is under the direction of the bio-technology companies and regulated by the Government. NFU Mutual consider
that any liability relating to GM farm-scale crop evaluations should rest with the bio-technology companies rather than the individual farmer.
Any farmer thinking of entering into such an arrangement should ensure there is a contractual agreement in force making it clear that all liability resulting from the tests is picked up by the relevent bio-technology company.
Your Public Liability policy, in line with those available throughout the UK insurance market, would not apply in the event of an incident of cross pollination involving GM or indeed any other crops. To make the cover position quite clear the following endorsement attaches to Section 3D - Public and Product Liability (Farming) insurance from your current renewal.
030A Genetically Modified Crops
NFU Mutual will not indemnify the Insured in respect of any liability arising from the production, supply of or presence on the premises of any genetically modified crop, where liability may be attributed directly or indirectly to the genetic characteristics of such crop.
In particular no indemnity will be provided in respect of liability arising from the spread or the threat of spread of genetically modified organism characteristics into the environment or any change to the environment arising from research into, testing of or production of genetically modified organisms.
Risk Management Advice
If you are considering undertaking the testing or production of GM crops NFU Mutual's surveyor can provide risk management advice. It is vital that you adopt the best practice introduced by SCIMAC (Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops).
Advice, without additional cost to you, can also be provided regarding security and avoidance of malicious damage. Please contact your agent if you require advice in this connection.