Love, or maybe passion, are the only two words that can adequately describe the motivation that drives equestrians in Loudoun County. Our horse farms and training facilities and the families that own them, work long hours, often 24-7/365, to sustain their way of life. It’s this lifestyle of love that Anna Connors has dedicated her profession to protect.
Anna’s 8-year-old daughter rides horses; this summer she started jumping. As a trained insurance agent, when her daughter’s devotion to horses first began to flower, Anna found herself increasingly pressed to answer questions about her job. “Once people knew that I was an insurance agent, they began asking me whether they had the proper coverage” for their riding stables, their training facilities, and their employees. “In truth, as we visited the many beautiful horse farms and began meeting the families that own them, I was shocked to learn that very few of them had insurance that covered either their horses or their equestrian activities!”
The norm for most Virginia horse farmers is to believe themselves covered by their “homeowners” policies that cover damage to the house, the barn or the other out-buildings. But these policies are ill-suited to insure the thriving businesses that equestrian operations are, or the potential liability issues they represent. “I soon realized that there was a need to help these incredibly dedicated people preserve their way of life,” Anna said, and decided to dedicate her company, Connors Coverage Group, to do just that.
To realize her goal, her first move was to partner with an insurance carrier that was attuned to the equestrian lifestyle. She decided to represent Farm Family Casualty Insurance, part of the American National Company group, because this company offers Insurance Policies that are well suited to protect Farm and Equestrian Operations. She then joined the board of the Loudoun County Equestrian Alliance, which represents the interests of the equestrian community in the county, as the organization’s membership coordinator and listened avidly to the many operational, civil and social issues faced by horse owners.
She has spent the last three years detailing all the risks she could imagine that could befall participants in equestrian activities, whether they are involved in riding lessons, training, playing polo, transporting, showing, or even boarding horses at home on the farm. “I now specialize in guiding my customers on the Insurance Policy endorsements (clauses in an insurance policy detailing an exemption from or change in typical coverage) that they need to protect them from any liability or property damage,” she said. General insurance policies may exclude risks involving equestrian activities unless they are explicitly added back to policies as covered, she explained.
“Many barn owners think that just by displaying a waiver of liability or the Virginia liability laws that will cover them 100 percent,” she explains. Nothing could be further from the truth. “One of the key reasons you want to have insurance is because you want to be able to pay your defense costs in case you are sued. Your horse may misbehave, get out on the road, or kick someone, causing medical expenses and associated pain and suffering. The
injured party may claim negligence on the part of the horse owner or trainer, which claim you have to defend yourself against. You need to make sure your defense costs are covered because regardless of your care or professionalism, accidents happen.” Merely mounting the cost of a legal defense could bankrupt smaller horse farms, she warns.
Each and every policy she writes is different, based on her clients’ activities, because Anna has made herself familiar with any and all potential risks the owners face and spends time getting to know how each farm operates. She is so sensitized to these risks that she provides her clients with loss prevention tips – tips like, “Make sure that the temperament of each horse is graded before you put anyone on the horse. Make sure you check your saddles. Make sure people are wearing the safety gear properly. Make sure your barn is nice and clean and that you have safety signs displayed both there and in your arena. Do you have farm machinery? Make sure the use of that machinery is covered on your policy.” The most fundamental questions, she says, are, “Is my personal liability covered? Is my business liability covered? Is my horse liability covered? If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no,’ then we should talk!”
Anna says she is always available to review horse owners’ or trainers’ current insurance coverage and give them an honest assessment of what it does and doesn’t cover. “I will be their best advocate and give them a totally honest analysis of their policy. Once I tell them where the loopholes are, they are free to go back to their agent and ask them to correct this, this and this. I will never make someone switch unless it is something that is in their best interest.”
Anna approaches assessing potential risks, any one of which could cripple a horse owner’s ability to bring joy to her daughter and others, like a detective. “I love seeing the passion that equestrians have; I love it. They are the most passionate people I’ve ever known, to be honest with you. They live and breathe this life – that’s not something you find in every business, you know? What motivates me is making sure that they don’t lose what inspires them because just one serious loss could cause them to lose everything they own. I’m here to protect this life. One day my daughter will be one of them.”
Learn more and reach out to Anna through her website: https://connorscoveragegroup.com/.