Press Release: 6th March 2019

Stable launches a price risk management tool to help farmers protect themselves from Brexit market volatility

A company which aims to help farmers manage increasing volatility in agricultural markets has launched its risk management platform in the UK.

The first service of its kind outside the United States, Stable offers simple, affordable premiums for food and farming businesses to protect them from rising costs and falling prices.

Developed by farmer’s son Richard Counsell, the idea for the business came while he was completing a Nuffield Farming Scholarship looking into ways family farms like his own could build more financial certainty into their enterprises.

Combining knowledge gained from a career in software development and inspiration from the agricultural writer AG Street’s famous quote ‘Up corn, down horn’, he realised that by creating an insurance platform that acted like a mixed farm, he could spread risk across lots of commodities.

This meant premiums payable by farmers would be affordable, without needing public subsidy.

Now live across 15 countries, Stable offers index insurance to farmers producing diverse commodities ranging from coffee to cow’s milk.

In the UK, farmers can insure the price of milk, oilseed rape, milling wheat, feed wheat and feed barley, as well as lamb, pork, diesel and AN fertiliser. The minimum size of policy is just 10t of crops, 1000kg of livestock or 10,000 litres of milk.

The ability to insure against increases in pig, poultry and dairy feed is set to be available in weeks, as the team works towards the eventual goal of enabling farmers to protect their gross margin, i.e. wheat less fertilizer, or milk less feed.

Launching the platform at the RIC’s headquarters in London on Tuesday (5 March), Mr Counsell said price volatility is a major risk to UK farmers, but until now the financial tools to deal with price risk hadn’t been designed with farmers in mind.

Richard Counsell, Stable founder and Nuffield Scholar

“As an industry, volatile prices and costs are one of our biggest risks. Meeting thousands of farmers during my Nuffield scholarship helped me understand the need to build a simple solution that was available to farmers of every size and every sector,” Richard adds.

“With so much uncertainty on the horizon thanks to Brexit, we wanted to ensure British farmers have the financial confidence to invest in our future and take advantage of new opportunities.

“As price takers, we need to grab the bull by the horns and tackle volatility head on, which is exactly what Stable can help farmers do.”

George Eustice MP talking at the launch event

Former farming minister George Eustice said having looked into potential mechanisms for managing volatility during his time in government, he believed insurance could offer a sensible solution for what is a serious challenge for UK farmers.

“Richard and his team have created the world’s largest virtual mixed farm using years and years of data to create a platform which farmers can insure the price of their milk in they same way they insure their tractors or their car,” he said.

“He understands that farmers don’t want to speculate in they city, but want to insure the price of milk. What Stable has done is a remarkable idea, and by neutralising risk [for farmers] it has identified a way forward.”

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said it was important farmers had as many tools available to them as possible in order to manage the growing threat of volatility.

“Farmers are having to face three points of volatility”, said Guy Smith, NFU Deputy President

“Farmers are having to face three points of volatility – weather, markets and politics – and the farmers of the future will be the ones who manage volatility best” he said.

“Like with crop protection, it’s important for farmers that they have as many tools available to them as possible to help them tackle the challenges they face, and I congratulate Stable on brining this to the table.”

The UK platform utilises indexes from DEFRA and the AHDB to calculate the premiums and claims payable. Businesses can get a free quote in two minutes by selecting how much they want to protect, the length of protection, and at what price.

Because the system uses an index price for any payouts, claims are paid automatically, keeping costs low and eliminating paperwork for farmers.

Stable is sold through partners that farmers already know and work with, such as insurers, cooperatives, industry suppliers and membership organisations. The company is registered with the FCA and is a Lloyd’s of London cover holder, which means all the policies are underwritten by global underwriters at Lloyd’s.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information and example case studies of how Stable works, visit www.stableprice.com

To speak to Richard Counsell, please contact Marina Cullen marina@stableprice.com


Stable was designed and built by farmers. We help farming and food businesses of every size and sector manage the risk of volatile prices so they can invest in their future with confidence. Stable’s index-insurance platform enables farmers and food businesses to insure themselves from a wide range of volatile commodity prices and input costs.

To find out more about Stable or to book a demo, please visit our website, call us on +44 (0) 203 8599390 or email hello@stableprice.com and we can show you how farmers are using Stable to protect their balance sheets.