Call for public-private partnerships in rural insurance

European governments must work with the insurance and reinsurance industry to help cover agricultural risks, senior market leaders have said.

The comments were made at the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation's (ICMIF) 16th meeting of reinsurance officials in Athens.

Last year, foot and mouth disease rocked the insurance market, making it virtually impossible for farmers to buy protection against a similar outbreak.

PartnerRe head of agricultural services William Dick said the problem has been exacerbated by the capacity shortage since 11 September.

"Consolidation of the professional reinsurance market and of syndicates within Lloyd's has limited leader choices," he said. "It is likely there will be increased need to work on public-private sector partnerships for future crop insurance programmes, as well as livestock insurance and other rural insurances."

Eckhardt Wilkens of the European Insurers Committee said government intervention was vital as the market could not bear agricultural risks independently.

"The involvement of public authorities in designing and funding insurance schemes is necessary," he said.