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31 August 2020
Crombie Lockwood’s own bloodstock team specialises in helping clients safeguard their exceptional horses and the odd famous animal.
Based in the equestrian-focused Waikato, the bloodstock specialists deal with horse racing and breeding insurance, handling thoroughbreds, standardbreds, racehorses, mares, stallions, equestrian horses and the occasional livestock case.
“We are it for bloodstock throughout New Zealand for Crombie Lockwood,” says Carlene Jones, who leads the team, alongside broker Lara Bowyer. “We have binding authority with our underwriters in London, so we are the only ones licensed under this binder to write insurance for bloodstock.”
Both Carlene and Lara have a background in the industry. Lara is a qualified vet nurse and Carlene has long been in the bloodstock world, working previously in airfreight for horses to and from New Zealand before getting into insurance 16 years ago.
Crombie Lockwood's bloodstock insurance policies cover a broad range of risks associated with accident, illness, injury or death of the animal. There's cover for theft, and protection for transit in and between New Zealand and Australia. Extensions like major medical fees or life saving surgery can also be added.
Breeding season in the southern hemisphere, runs from the beginning of August until the end of December. And cover is available 24 hours after a foal is born.
“Foals are quite high risk in that first 30 days, so it’s a good cover to have,” Carlene says.
Crombie Lockwood’s stallion specific cover insures the animal if they become permanently infertile by accident, sickness and disease.
"The client is indemnified for one hundred percent of the sum insured,” Carlene adds.
For livestock, and on special application, the team also insures pedigree bulls, cattle, trophy stags and working dogs, such as the Department of Conservation’s sniffer dogs. One of their most famous clients is Sirocco the Kākāpō, who shot to social media stardom after his frisky encounter with a zoologist Mark Carwardine while filming a BBC documentary with Stephen Fry in 2009.
Unfortunately, with bloodstock and livestock, injuries and illnesses can occur.
"We might receive a phone call that a horse is hurt or injured, and the vets are recommending it be euthanised,” Carlene says. “We then arrange for a second opinion from another vet, on behalf of the underwriters to liaise with the vets that are working with the horse. If both vets agree the horse needs to be euthanised on humane grounds, then it is agreed by the underwriters. Sometimes when those clients ring up, they’re so beside themselves they don’t know what to do. So, we need to ask, ‘have I got your permission to step in?’”
“At the end of the day, they want their horse. Some of those horses are best buddies for people,” she says.“ Even if they were good racehorses, it’s not about the money; they are part of their family.”
Standardbred horse trainer Tim Butt and wife Andrea moved to Camden, New South Wales from Christchurch in 2017, but continue to insure their new purchases, yearlings and racehorses through Carlene in Waikato. They can have anywhere between 24 and 30 horses in training at their facility.
“We recently purchased a trotter from France, which went through Carlene as well,” Andrea says. “She’s always been so good to deal with.”
“We own shares in some of the horses; some of them are just owned by one person, but a lot of them are syndicate horses where several people invest. Quite often if we purchase a horse from New Zealand, it won’t be fully syndicated, so we always insure them because we will end up probably [fronting] 30 to 40 percent, which we then try to finish syndicating once they get there.
Carlene gets enjoyment from witnessing her clients’ horses perform or get a great result at the sales.
“Seeing your clients happy certainly makes it all worthwhile,” she says.