INSURANCE firm Latevo is relaunching with a new structure as a farmers' mutual.
Latevo, which is best known for its pioneering attempts to boost the use of multi-peril crop insurance and farm income protection among growers, will go to a co-operative-like mutual model with 100 per cent grower ownership.
A mutual company is a private company whose ownership base is made of its clients or policyholders, where the shareholders are also entitled to receive company profits.
Membership of the mutual fund will come at a cost of $500 for growers insuring 1000 hectares or less, $1000 for 1000-3000ha, and $2000 for more than 3000ha.
In good seasons they will have a greater share of returns from the business.
Latevo director Andrew Trotter said he felt the new model would best reflect the company's direction.
"It's great, it allows growers to have a share in the upside in the good years as well as have cover in the years they need it," Mr Trotter said.
Mr Trotter said there continued to be strong demand from farmers for farm income protection products.
"This year we have received orders for over 600,000 hectares."
He said the next step in the long road to developing a viable income protection sector in Australia was educating farm advisory businesses such as insurance brokers and farm consultants of the benefits of crop insurance and other risk management products.
"It is about changing the mindset of the support industry, I think growers understand how useful it could be as a tool but more awareness is required across the entire sector."
He said Latevo would run training courses across country in the next month to help people looking to find out more about the concept.
Mr Trotter also said he was looking to change around perceptions regarding the cost of farm income protection.
"The price is far more affordable that what most growers have been historically told," he said.
"Farm Income Protection with us starts at $15 a hectare, that's the same price as a summer spray, it is not expensive, especially when you see the benefits it can deliver.
"Growers that have been in the program now say they won't plant crops without the protection as growing crops in the current climate as it is just far too much of a risk to take without laying some it off to the global insurance community."
With the new structure, Mr Trotter said Latevo could now offer multi-year contracts to clients.
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