The Crop Insurance Services Association Ltd (CIS) held its annual conference in York, last month.

The one day conference was held at the York Recreation and Convention Centre on October 8 and brought together crop insurance assessors from around WA.

CIS is an independent group which undertakes assessment of crop damage on behalf of several insurance companies. The assessors live across the state from Geraldton in the north to Albany and Esperance in the south.

CEO, Lindsay Hay, attended the conference where current practices, expectations and future directions were discussed.  The conference was also addressed by David Astbury, one of two chief assessors in WA. Other speakers included Dr Cathy Bowen from Jennacubbine who spoke  about succession planning, operations manager of Riverland Oilseeds, Tom Tremlett, from Pinjarra and Tony Umbrello from Attewells Accountants in York who spoke about changes to superannuation.

During the conference the group also inspected a canola crop on the property of Jamie Yeing at Cold Harbour, a pea crop at Geoff Allen's farm at Mt Hardey while wheat, oat and lupin crops were inspected at Gill Piper and Bruce Acutt’s farm at Talbot.

Spokesperson, David Gadsden, said the role of assessors was to visit farms and assess crop losses when claims were lodged by farmers with their insurance companies. The companies then forwarded claims to CIS or a similar group to be assessed. Assessments were made for loss or damage caused by hail, fire, chemical overspray, stock intrusion as well transport and storage. There had already been more than 80 claims relating to chemical overspray and hail damage in 2013, he said.

CIS grew out of an association formed  in 1940 by a number of companies that offered insurance cover to farmers for crop damage.  This association had a number of assessors across the crop growing areas in WA.  Since then there had been several changes with  two groups being formed after WWII. These were Federation Insurance and The Pool, Mr Gadsden said. 

In 1984 the Federation Insurance was taken over by Wesfarmers and became known as Wesfarmers Federation Insurance.  In 1992 the two WA enterprises WFI and The Pool joined forces and worked under the name, Hail Assessments. In 2005 Hail Assessments amalgamated with Crop Insurance Services which covered all states except WA, he said. 

ABOVE: Among those at the CIS conference in York last month (L-R) chief assessor David Astbury from Wickepin, CIS executive officer, Lindsay Hay from Sydney, secretary of CIS in WA, Gillian Piper from York, chief assessor Robin Randall from Jurien Bay and assessor, David Gadsdon from York.