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Rebuilding after storm Ciaràn

French Grower's Swift Progress through Collaboration

Johan LV serres

In November 2023, storm Ciaràn hit the Brest area in Brittany, France, damaging many greenhouses and crops. About 100 tomato and strawberry farmers from the Saveol cooperative had big losses. But they collaborated closely to fix things fast. Their ability to bounce back shows how powerful teamwork can be, even in tough times.

Horticultural Business LV Serres found itself amid the storm
Specializing in the cultivation of tomatoes, strawberries, and various fruit vegetables, the company faced the storm's fury at a pivotal moment, just before the impending planting season.

"We acted proactively."
The impact on greenhouse growers was significant. Johan van den Ouweland, Claims Handler at Hagelunie, highlighted the widespread effect: "Nearly all greenhouse growers were affected, and unfortunately, many were unaware of available repair services." Days before the storm hit, Johan began receiving reports from policyholders and repairers, indicating the looming danger. "We decided to act ahead of time," he said. Within just 24 hours of the storm's arrival, Hagelunie's team, along with appraisers, quickly mobilized to assess the damage on affected farms and determine the urgency. Priority was given to greenhouses still containing crops, with immediate closure to prevent cold-related crop damage. Emergency measures, like installing protective walls, were taken to shield vulnerable crops. Even in empty greenhouses, there was panic as growers rushed to replace broken windows and obtain new plants, a process that usually takes weeks.

Lucky break: empty greenhouses allow for repairs
As the growing season ended, a stroke of luck emerged: many greenhouses were empty, offering a chance for crucial repairs before the next planting phase. If the storm had hit a few weeks later, these structures would have been full of fragile young plants, greatly increasing potential crop damage. Most severely impacted greenhouses were near the coast, with some minor damages further inland. Common storm-related issues like broken windows and damaged roofing affected the sites. Horticultural Company LV Serres was also impacted.

LV Serres

Glass availability sped up repairs
When glass was on hand, fixes started quickly. When it was scarce, borrowing from other greenhouses, as advised by us, worked well. In disasters, mutual help is vital. Our appraisers, many with horticultural backgrounds, worked closely with growers to protect crops. Coordinating with local plant growers was key. They had young plants already, reducing pressure on affected growers. Planning extended plant storage gave time to reinforce damaged greenhouses before transplanting. Local brokers, growers, and repair teams all played crucial roles in dealing with the damage together. This crisis highlights how important it is to have enough glass supplies.

 

With more than 100 greenhouses affected, having enough glass is crucial for starting repairs. This shows the importance of being ready and resourceful to protect greenhouse operations.

- Johan van den Ouweland, Claims Handler at Hagelunie

 

Learn more: Keeping a glass stock important for the continuity of your business

Parlez vous Francais?
During crises, knowing French was crucial for good communication, especially when stress was high. As a greenhouse insurance company, Hagelunie understands how important language is for bridging gaps. Because most of our experts and repairers are from the Netherlands and speak French well, we could help connect repair teams and insured parties. Johan says, "Our role in passing on important information between everyone involved was crucial. We helped reassure French growers and quickly solve urgent problems." Our quick response during Storm Ciaràn showed how important it is to communicate clearly, work with local partners, and take proactive steps. The disaster also showed that besides knowing about greenhouses, understanding language, culture, and working closely with others, both locally and internationally, are all crucial. In crises, good communication is key to solving problems and recovering well.

"I'm pleased with the proactive stance taken by Hagelunie!"
The repairs progressed more swiftly than anticipated, and by Christmas, all the greenhouses were restored. This enabled LV Greenhouses to resume planting in nearly all the greenhouses as originally scheduled, with minimal crop losses. Reflecting on the ordeal, Maxime Le Saout, Greenhouse Grower at LV Serres, expressed gratitude for the collaboration with us, citing our extensive network and connections with repair firms.

 

"In tough times, Hagelunie's wide network and strong connections with important repair firms were crucial."

- Maxime Le Saout, Greenhouse Grower at LV Serres

 

Tomatoes 

Preventive maintenance remains crucial
Johan suggests that greenhouse horticultural businesses directly contact repair teams from the Netherlands instead of relying only on their greenhouse builders. This reduces dependence and speeds up communication for faster repairs.

About LV Serres
LV Serres, based in LANVIAN, Guipavas, France, has been growing vegetables, melons, roots and tubers since its inception in 2006.

Learn more
Visit our website at www.hagelunie.com or contact us at info@hagelunie.com.

 

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