Guide to Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI)
– BDI cover is only offered to beekeepers living in England and Wales.
– If you join the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) as an individual member, you can then join BDI and benefit from the insurance cover provided.
– Most members of BDI join as part of their membership of their local beekeeping group. Joining a group of local beekeepers give access to support and training for new and experienced beekeepers alike.
What are the premium rates?
– The minimum payable by each Member Association to BDI Ltd as a condition of membership is a subscription of £2 per annum for each of its beekeeping members. This subscription includes insurance cover for up to three honey bee colonies. The local BKA retains the fees until they are requested by the BDI Treasurer to pay. This is twice a year and these payments are known as ‘Spring return’ and ‘Autumn return’. The promptness of these payments makes it easier for the BDI Treasurer. A late retum from the BKA Treasurer may cause problems with the payment of compensation to a beekeeper, so it is in everyone’s interest to make sure these returns are made on time. If you are given a receipt by your Treasurer, this needs to be retained in case you have to make a claim.
– Note from 2014, BBKA Partner Members are not required to make any BDI payment, but the Full Member is responsible for insuring all colonies owned by themselves and their Partner Member.
– Associate Members, Junior Members and Friends are not usually insured by local associations as they do not normally keep bees independently.
– If a Junior Member manages colonies with another full member of BBKA (eg, parent/guardian) who insures the jointly managed colonies then the Junior Member does not need to pay BDI; this is the default position – not to charge BDI as part of a Junior Member’s subscription. However, if a Junior Member keeps bees that are not insured by anyone else, then he/she should declare these hives and pay the appropriate premium with his/her subscription. The membership receipt will
note the name of an adult who can act on the Junior Member’s behalf in the event of any claim.
(BBKA News, February 2014).
In such circumstances the paper or eReturn receipt should show the Junior members name in the usual way, but the first line of the address should be replaced by ‘Mr A. Adult (on behalf of J. Junior)‘, followed by the address on the remaining lines.
– Beekeepers under the age of 16 years are unable to take out insurance policies and any policy has to be arranged by a parent or guardian. Beekeeping members are obliged to pay premiums for any extra colonies they own.
– Part of BDl’s activities include research into the causes of bee diseases and this is also funded from subscriptions.
– BDI premiums are paid in respect of the calendar year, 1st January to 31st December. Insurance cover becomes effective each year from the time that the member’s association receives his or her membership subscription and additional premiums. Where such payment is made after 31st March cover will not commence until 40 days have elapsed from the payment of the subscription and any premium due. This is known as the 40 day rule, and is to prevent members starting or increasing cover during the active season when they may have already discovered the presence of disease.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
What does BDI cover?
– BDI compensates insured beekeepers for equipment losses where their bees are destroyed or treated under the Bees Act 1980, The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006 and The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) Order 2006, or any similar order in force at the time, for notifiable diseases, currently European Foul Brood (EFB) and American Foul Brood (AFB) by a Bee Inspector appointed by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA). There is a limited fund if Small Hive Beetle or Tropilaelaps arrives (see below).
If you suspect your bees may be infected with foul brood you should:
– Reassemble the colony.
– Contact your local Bee Inspector and wait for instructions.
– Disinfect your hive tool, gloves and bee suit appropriately. If unsure on how to do this, seek advice from the Bee Inspector.
– Even before the Bee Inspector visits you, there is a statutory ‘standstill’ order in place. This prevents you from moving any beekeeping material out of the apiary.
– If foul brood is confirmed you will be given a form by the Bee Inspector and he/she will decide the minimum processes you have to undertake. Please ensure that all parts are completed and send it with a copy of your insurance receipt to the Claims Manager who, if there are no problems, will arrange for compensation payment ASAP.
– It is BDI policy to settle queries and claims to the satisfaction of all as quickly as possible. As staff are volunteers there may be delays for holidays, illness, etc. Many of the settlement delays are due to things that could have been avoided and include things such as claims made by a different person than the insured beekeeper, under-insurance,
and claims forms not being completed properly.
How does BDI work with the Welsh Beekeepers’ Association (WBKA), BBKA & the Bee Inspection Service?
– BDI is independent, but works closely with them all. The majority of beekeepers who are insured under BDI are members of WBKA and BBKA, but not all. The NBU Bee Inspectors diagnose and destroy or treat colonies and will certify the losses. BDI are grateful for the help and co operation we receive from these organisations.
How many colonies should I cover?
– All colonies owned by a beekeeper must be covered; otherwise none are, even if only one colony is destroyed. Many beekeepers underestimate the numbers of colonies they might have during the active season, so BDI introduced a banding scheme to help ensure that beekeepers who collect swarms, make artificial swarms or nuclei during the season do not find themselves with inadequate cover. If, for example, you normally run ten colonies but have the equipment and facilities to have more, you should consider paying the premium for the next band. The important thing when considering how many to cover is to make an accurate count of the starting number of colonies and then to add the plans, hopes or expectations of increase in the coming season.
Should all bees on a communal site be covered?
– All colonies on a communal site must be covered with BDI taken out by the respective owners, otherwise none are covered. A communal site is a permanent or temporary apiary site, which is shared by two or more beekeepers. BDI consider that apiary sites on the opposite side of the same field are separate apiaries but if in the same garden would be communal, however each case must be considered on its merits. If in doubt, it is best to ensure that each
beekeeper has cover and if not, then do not use the site. Communal BKA sites normally have robust rules, so a check with the apiary manager is all that is required. If the BKA is a BDI member, then it is obliged to collect subscriptions and premiums from all its members so by default all users of the site have the opportunity to be fully covered, but it is still your responsibility to check.
How are the compensation rates calculated?
– BDI does not offer compensation on a new for old basis. The compensation rates are calculated on 90% of the catalogue prices of a well known major beekeeping equipment supplier in the UK. The maximum compensation payable to an individual is £2,500 in any one year of insurance. Compensation claims can be reduced for the following reasons:
– The combs and equipment are old and/or are in poor condition. This will be at the discretion of the Bee Inspector.
– If claims have been made in both the previous two years, compensation will be reduced by 25%; in all the previous three years, by 50%; in all the previous four years, by 75%.
Am I still covered if I make a claim?
– On the payment of a claim for any reason, or if a claim for colony destruction on account of Small Hive Beetle or Tropilaelaps mites is accepted, the number of colonies covered is reduced proportionately, ie, by the number of colonies destroyed. If the number of colonies subsequently increases, additional insurance cover must be obtained
and will be subject to the 40 day rule.
Are Apideas or other mini nucs covered?
– Apideas are not included in the compensation rates and they do not therefore have to be counted as a colony. No compensation is payable for mini-nucs and they do not therefore have to be counted as a colony. Any single colony containing standard frames, which are included in the compensation list, should be included. Each nucleus, whatever the size, counts as one colony.
Are Snelgroved (& Taranoved) colonies covered?
– These will be covered, provided, of course, that they were counted as one colony when deciding how many colonies to cover and they will revert to one colony when the operation is complete.
Why are top bars from TBH/Warre hives not covered?
– The top bars are usually home made and the compensation rate includes the cost of foundation that isn’t normally used. It has been stated on the compensation rates section to avoid misunderstanding.
If I take swarms during the year will they be included?
– If the swarm is collected with the intention of keeping and hiving it, then obviously it becomes part of your property and is counted as one colony. You must allow for this possible increase when calculating your dues. If, as often happens, you collect a swarm and before it is hived, pass it on to another member who is short of bees, it is the responsibility of the new owner to cover them.
I have just bought some bees that have foul brood; what do I do?
– If they are likely to have been infected when you bought them, then you should claim from the seller. The National Bee Unit will then probably inspect the seller‘s apiary.
The banding means I insure for more colonies than I have; why?
– Experience shows that a number of beekeepers consistently under pay by not declaring all the colonies they actually have, or will have, or creep above due to normal increase. Sometimes this happens because they collect and keep a swarm, or have one given to them, which they did not expect to keep. It is to help beekeepers avoid this problem that banding was introduced. It seems to be working because the number of cases of underpayment has fallen significantly since banding was introduced.
Will the compensation be paid if I under state the number of my colonies?
– The scheme can only operate with members acting in good faith, so to knowingly under pay is to breach the basis of trust on which the scheme operates. It means that other beekeepers potentially have to pay more to make up for the premiums that are lost as a result of the under- payment. Consistent or intentional under- payment will result in any claim for compensation being rejected. Similar rules apply to most forms of compensation arrangements
nowadays. However, the managers of our schemes have always dealt with cases on an individual basis, exercising discretion where appropriate and where the beekeeper has acted reasonably; they will continue to do so.
Can BDI cover for other risks? No.
Are the premiums I have paid secure?
– BDI is regulated as an insurance company by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and supervised by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. As such it has to maintain sufficient solvency to be able to meets its likely claims based on policies issued. The company does not pay dividends, so all retained earnings are
available to support the company’s activities.
Am I covered in respect of Small Hive Beetle & the Tropilaelaps mite?
– The Directors have agreed that there should be a scheme in the event of these pests arriving in England or Wales. As with varroa, when they do arrive they may well become endemic and have to be managed as an element of routine beekeeping practice. Compensation for the destruction of honey bee colonies because of Small Hive Beetle and Tropilaelaps infestation is consistent with BDI‘s founding principles, that a compensation scheme encourages beekeepers to come forward if there is any cause for concern. It was agreed in 2006 that BDI cover should be extended to compensate for the statutory destruction of colonies, hives and equipment on account of either Small Hive Beetle or Tropilaelaps infestations. A maximum amount of £50,000 per annum will be available to cover claims.
Each eligible claim will be covered to a maximum of £150 per hive. This amount will be adjusted to take into account the condition of equipment as certified by the Bee Inspector, providing
the beekeeper is not otherwise insured or entitled to obtain compensation elsewhere. The amount will be calculated pro rata between all claims in any year, so if they collectively exceed £50,000, each claim will be proportionately reduced. Settlement will be made after all claims for that year are processed. Should these pests become endemic and statutory control abandoned, then BDI compensation cover will cease.
Information taken from the BDI Website (www.beediseasesinsurance.co.uk),
& the BBKA News, February 2014
Barry Neal, DBKA Gen Sec, 7th November 2014