HARTFORD, Conn. — The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), part of Munich Re, today announced its new Farm Equipment and Machinery Breakdown Coverage with expanded insurance for mobile implements and the precision electronics that control them, among other enhancements.

HSB’s optional insurance for mobile farm implements, such as seeders, spreaders, sprayers, tillers and their controlling electronics addresses, for the first time, a major gap that has existed in farm owners insurance. No policy has been available until now that covers both breakdowns to portable agricultural implements and undetectable damage to sensitive micro-circuits or firmware failure.

“Covering mobile farm implements and the electronics for precision farming is a ground-breaking innovation," said Rebecca Galovich, HSB vice president. “We’ve followed the farmer into the field, with insurance that covers not only the physical breakdown of farm implements but also invisible-to-the-eye microelectronics damage and firmware failure.”

Today’s farm implements and precision farming technology contain sensitive microelectronics and proprietary computer systems that require specialized technicians to fix. All it takes is a little bit of dust or crop chaff to blow a circuit or sensor and shut down an implement vital to planting, growing or harvesting. It may take days to get an authorized dealer or manufacturer technician for repairs. Farmers who need to fix things on the fly now face repair challenges they couldn't have imagined a few years ago.

“Farmers practically need to be a computer expert to fix their own equipment with the sophisticated systems and controls OEMs of precision agriculture equipment have installed,” said Galovich. “In our survey of farmers and dealers we discovered that farm implements were not covered under warranty from 52-70% of the time.”

HSB conducted a survey of farmers and members of the North American Equipment Dealers Assn. (NAEDA) to understand the equipment and implements farmers own, its lifespan, how it fails, failure frequency, repair and replacement costs and the percentage not covered under warranty.

Since farmers are operating more renewable energy equipment, HSB Farm Equipment and Machinery Breakdown Coverage includes enhanced insurance for breakdowns to wind turbines, solar systems and other generating equipment. The coverage pays for lost income from the sale of energy, the purchase of replacement power, and the loss of renewable energy credits and offsets when breakdowns occur.

HSB’s new farm coverage also can cover, as an option, the loss of income for contract farmers who raise hogs and poultry when an equipment failure leads to the deaths of the animals.

HSB’s Farm Equipment and Machinery Breakdown Coverage will be available through farm insurers that partner with Hartford Steam Boiler.