Voice of the Farmer – NFU Mutual (cati)
NFU Mutual is one of the UK’s leading mutual insurers, with a product portfolio encompassing general insurance, pensions and investments. For more than a century it has had a special affinity with the farming community and its insurance and business needs. Renowned for listening to its customers, NFU Mutual moves with the times and continues to develop the products and services it offers farmers.
NFU Mutual runs an annual ‘Voice of the Farmer’ survey.
The survey gives insight into topics such as diversification strategies; health & safety; risk management; attitudes to investing money in the business; how farmers choose financial services.
In 2018 there were 1,800 farmers interviewed, ranging from small-holders with five acres to landowners farming many thousands of acres.
One challenge is that farmers are often busy, work long hours outdoors and can be called away to attend to the farm during the detailed phone interview.
Another is finding a representative cross-section of the UK farming community: there are quotas for geographic location, size of farm, type of farm and extent of diversification.
Market research agency Mindset Research has used Protel Fieldwork to carry out all the interviews for ‘Voice of the Farmer’ and its previous iterations for the past 13 years.
Working from a dedicated unit in Coventry, Protel researchers conduct Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI), logging responses as they go. If a farmer needs to break off, there is a facility to stop the survey and pick up again later with the same interviewer. Teams work into the evenings and on Saturdays to reach more farmers.
Protel’s interviewers are skilled at guiding conversation back to the key questions – the detailed questionnaire can be completed in 20-25 minutes. Efficiency is monitored via the Horizon system and NFU Mutual sends staff to listen in to selected calls.
Each year Protel completes the survey on time, allowing Mindset Research to extract vital information for NFU Mutual about farmers’ attitudes towards business, allowing the mutual insurer to develop its products in line with the needs of farming customers.
Martin Olver, of Mindset Research, said:
“The farming community is notoriously difficult to survey. We have worked with Protel on this project for many years and greatly value their understanding of the market and experience of conducting interviews with farmers.
“We set very tough challenges for Protel in terms of the sample profile and we rely heavily on Protel’s experience of the market, together with their resourcefulness in developing an appropriate database.”