Insurance industry wary of covering farms with turbines after Collingwood court ruling

Greg Cameron of Cameron Insurance in Oil Springs

Greg Cameron of Cameron Insurance in Oil Springs

A local insurance broker says a recent decision to allow neighbours of wind farms to sue for lost property value may make it harder for farms with wind turbines to get liability insurance.

Greg Cameron of Cameron Insurance was one of the speakers at yesterday’s meeting held by CORE – Conserve Our Rural Enniskillen. CORE organized after three wind companies began moving throughout the area asking farmers to host wind turbines on their property. Up to 51 turbines are planned in the three projects

But Cameron is warning farmers they need to be careful about signing lease agreements because it may affect their insurance coverage.

Cameron says a recent Ontario Court decision in which a judge ruled property owners around a proposed development in Collingwood could go to court to look for damages to cover the devaluation of their property once the project was built.

Cameron says the insurance industry, which does not have uniform policies on liability insurance for farms with industrial turbines, is closely watching the situation. “As more and more turbines go up and more and more liability suits are presented, you will be able to tell the appetite of the insurance companies, whether they will cover farms (with turbines),” says Cameron.

“It is going to be harder.”

Cameron adds insurance companies, like many other groups, are simply waiting to see what happens once hundreds of the energy generators are online. “What one company does today may not be what they do next week,” he says.

Right now, every insurance carrier has different rules and farmers searching around for better deals are finding wide variations in rules and prices. And he says it is nearly impossible for those who have already signed wind leases. “If they’re stuck with a lease agreement, they could lose all liability on the farm covering all the property.

“My big recommendation for farmers is before signing and option or agreement, take it to a lawyer and bring it to your insurance company,” Cameron says.