NFU Mutual, the UK’s leading rural insurer, has released its annual Rural Crime Report, based on claims data gathered from 300 agent offices across the UK. The report offers insights into the financial impact of rural crime and the impact it has on those affected.
The report states that the cost of rural crime was £44.5 million in 2017, up a significant 13.4% compared to the previous year. Agricultural vehicle and quad/ATV theft accounted for £8.2m alone, or £10.1m when Land Rover Defenders are included.
Farmers have started using security methods that have been deployed for hundreds or years such as ditches, single points of entry and secure rooms, but what is the role of technology in combatting the issue?
According to the report CCTV is one of the most common security measures being installed. Whilst CCTV certainly has a role to play, it often does not deter criminals who know full well that footage is poor quality and that CCTV only comes into play after the crime has taken place.
Microlise has recently begun working with New Holland, the tractor manufacturer, with telematics units fitted to a range of models produced by the company. But such telematics units can be fitted to other machines, as shown by Microlise’s long track record working with JCB and its LiveLink product.
So how can telematics play a role in combatting this increasing threat in agriculture?
Tracking – At its most basic, telematics offers a real-time view of the location of an asset. As well as ensuring assets are not simply mislaid, this real-time view can be invaluable if an asset is stolen, allowing the owner to see where the asset is and as has often been the case in the past, directing police to recover it.
Alerts with Geofences – With telematics, users can create geofences around certain areas and be alerted if an asset ‘breaks’ the geofences within certain times of the day.
For example, a geofence can be created around a farm or site. If an asset ever leaves the farm, the user can be alerted by SMS and email, and take action if required. A geofence could also be created more specifically around the location assets are kept during the night, and the same alerts be set up should the geofences be broken.
Moving away from tackling theft, telematics is also starting to play a crucial role in terms of proactive maintenance, ensuring assets remain fully serviced as per contracts with dealerships and manufacturers.
Telematics systems will monitor the number of hours a machine has run, or how many miles a vehicle has travelled. This data can then be used to identify when a vehicle is due for a service, either generally, or in line with a repair and maintenance agreement taken out when the asset was purchased.
This information is also helpful in understanding the utilisation of different assets, looking at how regularly assets are being used.
Interested to know more?
If you are interested in speaking to us about utilising telematics, please take a look at the Plant & Agriculture page of our website where you can download a brochure or request a demonstration.