Equine insurance experts answer your questions about insuring Thoroughbreds for the breeding and auction realms. Email us at [email protected] if you have a question for an insurer.
QUESTION: Is it less expensive to insure an older foal/yearling than it is to insure a newborn baby?
BRYCE BURTON: Newborns are more expensive to insure than foals that are a few months old. Foals are insurable at 24 hours after birth. The highest Full Mortality rate is given to a foal between 24 hours and seven days. The rate decreases slightly at eight days to 30 days, and then again between 31 to 90 days. So, it can be beneficial for an insured to ask their agent for all available foal rates in order to determine which timeframe best suits their insurance needs.
QUESTION: Are there any factors that could contribute to a new foal being uninsurable, or their coverage being limited in any way?
BRYCE BURTON: The insurance company has specific parameters that the foal must meet in order for the foal to be insured at 24 hours after birth. Unlike insuring yearlings and other older horses, there are specific questions with respect to the blood work on the foal-specific veterinary certificate. If the foal's white blood cell count or IGG (antibody) levels are too low, the company will not accept coverage on the foal. However, once those results have increased into the accepted range and these results are shown on the exam, coverage can be bound at that time.
Similarly, if there are complications at birth or within the first 24 hours, the company has the right to place an exclusion on the policy for that specific issue. An exclusion states that any loss directly or indirectly caused by or contributed to by the underlying issue will not be included within the policy's coverage.
A common example of this would be if the foal suffered multiple broken ribs at birth. The company will most likely accept coverage on the foal and place an exclusion specific to the broken ribs, which can be lifted from the policy once the ribs have healed and a new veterinary exam has been completed.
Bryce Burton is a property and liability specialist for Muirfield Insurance. He is from Frankfort, Ky., where he grew up an avid race fan. His Thoroughbred racing fandom combined with a collegiate internship in the insurance industry, culminated in a start in the equine insurance field. Bryce has been with Muirfield Insurance since 2014, following his graduation from Transylvania University in Lexington.
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