|10 October 2003
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear Friends and colleagues,
RE: UK INSURERS RELUCTANT TO COVER GM FARMERS
UK insurers, like many of their counterparts in New Zealand and Australia, have shown their reluctance to offer cover to farmers who want to plant GM crops because they fear a public health disaster and huge compensation payouts. (also see earlier mailout "NZ Insurer Refuses to Cover GM").
This was revealed in a study made by FARM, a farmers' organization, which draws its conclusion from interviews conducted with a number of underwriters in the UK on their position with regards to GM crops.
The study found that none of the principal insurance underwriters is prepared to risk insuring either farmers who are considering growing GM crops, or non-GM crop farmers seeking to protect their businesses from contamination by GM crops.
One broker said: "Fifty years ago they were writing policies for asbestos without a care in the world. Now they are faced with bills of hundreds of millions. There is a feeling that GM could come back and bite you in five years time."
Another broker worried that GM could be like Thalidomide, which only erupted into a full blown problem some time later.
The news comes just weeks the UK government decides whether the first batch of GM seeds will get the go-ahead to be planted in the country. The decision will be based on the results of the Government's three-year trials on GM crops which will be published next week.
With best wishes,
Lim Li Lin and Chee Yoke Heong
Third World Network
121-S Jalan Utama