The forestry industry is an integral part of the US economy. From providing jobs across the country to creating many of the products that we take for granted in our day-to-today lives, forestry businesses do much to improve the quality of life for many.
As essential as forestry work is, wood and lumber are some of the riskiest niches in which to be employed. Worker injuries, property loss, equipment damage, and natural disasters (for example, wildfires) are just some of the many risks that forestry businesses face.
Because of this, companies in lumber, sawmill, logging, and other forestry-related industries may be concerned about the type of insurance they have, or even if they have enough coverage to protect their employees and equipment. Here’s what you need to know to determine whether your business is adequately protected and whether additional forestry or logging insurance coverage could benefit your operations.
Much like the name suggests, workers’ compensation insurance coverage focuses on compensating employees if they have been injured on the job. This is mandatory for any business that operates in the forestry sector because worker injuries are more common than average.
Certain categories of injuries may be more frequent than others; sawmills, for example, deal with partial amputations (such as of a finger) more often, whereas logging and land clearing operations are more likely to face work-related incidents that result from vehicle accidents or falling trees.
The good news is that reputable insurance agencies can help you to craft a policy that offers workers support in the event of these types of injuries that are most common in your industry, as well as more broad coverage for accidents that are less common. Better workers’ comp coverage can result in higher employee retention and morale for the company.
Commercial auto insurance covers business-owned commercial vehicles and safeguards against accidents, injuries, harm, damage, theft, and some other incidents, such as acts of God. The exact coverage will depend upon the policy you select, with common exclusions for some types of damage, like pollution. Since certain businesses within the forestry industry rely more heavily on equipment and vehicles, commercial auto insurance provides useful coverage for cases of vehicle damage.
Woodyards and sawmills frequently rely on commercial auto coverage, but it is useful for loggers and land clearing businesses too. All it takes is a single tree falling the wrong way to cause catastrophic financial damage.
Consider, too, that forestry workers are operating vehicles in largely undeveloped territory, without access to paved roads and guardrails. It is not uncommon for vehicles to flip or get stuck, suffering damage along the way.
Property insurance coverage is more complex than you may expect. First—and as you may expect—property insurance protects risks to property. However, what constitutes “risk” against a property is nuanced. In forestry cases, this would include things like:
- Wind-related damage
- Acts of vandalism
Given that the forest sector often faces natural disasters like wildfires, property insurance coverage is essential for many businesses in the forestry industry. Inadequately planned land clearing, for example, could result in two separate teams encroaching on each other’s work, resulting in injury. It could also cause teams to mistake where they are supposed to be logging, resulting in damage to land that was not intended for harvest. Property coverage protects businesses from mistakes like this.
Most forestry businesses want coverage against common general risks. This type of policy protects against customer or client injuries, customer or client property damage, and sometimes even advertising or marketing liabilities.
Forest Insurance: The Key Difference
As you consider the type(s) of forestry insurance that would most benefit your company, remember that “forest insurance” and “forestry insurance” are not the same thing. Forest insurance focuses less on the business and more on the forests—that is, the land itself and the benefit that it contributes.
Forest insurance covers theft, vandalism and other damage that impacts:
- Wood-felling residues
- Felled logs, pulpwood, and timber
- Trees, saplings, and seedlings
In other words, forest insurance protects the forest itself from harm. You may or may not need forest insurance depending on the type of work your company does.
Trust the Pros to Help You Craft the Right Coverage
When it comes to picking the right insurance coverage for your business, be sure to work with the experts. The professionals at Burton & Company will help you craft a reliable mixture of coverages that keeps your company financially secure, even while being part of one of the riskiest industries in America. Reach out to learn more or to schedule an appointment to get started.