Santam: Protection for precision farming

by | Jun 29, 2020 | Wineland

Wine farming and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), together with the internet of things, have introduced major technological advancements for precision farming. Recent artificial intelligence (AI) developments have enabled producers to use electronic equipment and related data sets to automate various farming processes. Through the collection and processing of data, AI algorithms can help wine producers to alter growing conditions to deal with climate changes. Producers can no longer ignore these benefits for precision farming and a special focus on the insurance of these advanced pieces of equipment has become inevitable.

Cover for electronic equipment is imperative, says Santam Business Development manager Emil Pretorius. Santam Agriculture’s policies now include  enhancements that form part of the electronic equipment section of the policy. These enhancements are aligned with the new agricultural practices that are now part of producers’ business. “We’ve been providing specialist risk solutions for electronic equipment for several years and have developed a detailed understanding of insuring these items,” Emil says.

These pieces of electronic equipment are prone to physical loss or damage due to lightning, power surges, electrical, mechanical or electronic breakdown and theft, making them more exposed to risk than other farm assets. Santam Agriculture recently revised the electronic equipment section of its policies, paying special attention to enhanced cover. The policy wording provides cover for loss of or damage to the insured property due to any cause not otherwise excluded.

Electronic equipment is covered in that part of the building, in transit or temporarily at any premises en route. For wine producers it’s important to note that any electronic equipment, together with the software, used in the building needs to be insured under this section. Electronic equipment that forms part of among other things sorting lines, air lines and incline conveyors is only one example.

Cover for insured property such as laptops, tablets or other similar portable electronic equipment designed to be carried by a person, including cover for theft or burglary, is now provided anywhere in the world. As part of data collection, wine producers are increasingly using drones and cameras to capture colour, thermal and infrared images of the vineyard. The camera and software need to be insured under this section. The drone itself needs to be insured with Santam Aviation to provide liability cover.

Another enhancement is cover for insured property of a specialist nature such as sensors to assess water needs and soil conditions. Items such as GPS navigation systems, control systems, sensors, telematics and automation equipment are now covered at or away from the insured premises, in any location (other than a building) or vehicle.

Consequential loss has been extended with optional cover for business interruption. This is important cover for the loss of profit following damage to or loss of an insured item. Producers can no longer ignore the importance of the optional cover for the loss of data, Emil says. Reinstatement of data is available under this section.

Although investment in these technologies comes at a high cost, their contribution to producers’ success is significant. It’s therefore important for producers to attend to the insurance of these items to ensure the long-term sustainability of their farm. Santam is known for being producers’ partner of choice and is committed to helping them with their smart-farming insurance needs.


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