id509-The Question of Insurance

Written by Michael White   

Whether the UK's Athletics Clubs accede to the affiliation demands of England Athletics or not,the question of Public Liability Insurance is taxing club committees. Kingston & Poly's Committee has decided to take out more appropriate cover than that offered by UKA.

By way of illustration,and by kind permission of the author,we reproduce an article highlighting some shortcomings of the UKA policy,free as it may be to affiliated clubs. This article can also be viewed on www.britishathleticsclubs.com(the ABAC site)-- where details of the alternative policy can also be studied.

UK ATHLETICS and INSURANCE

AN OBSESSION WITH ACCREDITATION, CERTIFICATION, GRADING AND LICENSING

ABAC has carefully examined the UKA insurance provided to clubs. It is ABAC’s opinion that the cover given by the policy does not give Britain’s athletic clubs the insurance that they require to operate satisfactorily.

The specific criticisms are;

1 The cover requires that a coach must hold a current UKA pass and licence.

ABAC says that the definition of a coach should be extended to include those who have a minimum of 2 years coaching experience and who have been approved as competent and responsible by their club committee

2 The cover requires all technical, including endurance, officials to be licensed by UKA.

ABAC says this requirement should be deleted.

3 The professional indemnity cover for coaches and technical officials is subject to a £5000 excess.

ABAC says the excess should be reduced to Nil.

4 There is a £750 excess for property damage claims.

ABAC says this is too large and should be reduced to £250.

5 Only selected extracts are shown on the UKA web site.

ABACA says a full copy of the UKA policy should be displayed on the UKA web site. Those insured need to fully understand what is and is not covered.

ABAC Comment: The above listed recommended changes are all available from the insurance market now. If UKA insurers are not prepared to give the cover required then the insurance should be moved to other insurers. The NGB should be prepared to pay the price to have the insurance that enables clubs and individuals to properly conduct the sport of athletics.

And the problems for endurance officials

In April 2006 UKA decided to amend their Rules for Competition, Appendix E, to demand licensing of endurance officials. That is officials for all road and cross country races. This was done with no planning as to how it would be implemented, no consultation, no publicity and no understanding of the effects it might have and without evidence that there was a real problem that needed solving in the first place.

As a result of these new Rules endurance officials are now categorised as Technical Officials. The UKA insurance cover for technical officials states “In respect of the Public Liability insurance the term “Technical Official” is defined as being a person who has satisfied the requirement of UK Athletics as set down in the “Rules for Competition 1998 at Appendix E”.

Appendix E states that Road and Cross Country officials must be licensed by UK Athletics. Due to the lack of publicity by UK Athletics many races have been held since April 2006 with unlicensed officials. If a major claim occurred the insurer could and almost certainly would decline liability leaving race organisers in a really terrible situation. They could be personally pursued by the injured party for compensation and perhaps worst of all an injured person would be faced with a very messy and unpleasant fight for the compensation to which he was legally entitled.

Incredibly the responsibility for publicising these very important changes to the Rules was left to the Counties. Some Counties like Essex and Merseyside have informed their members. Others have done nothing leaving their members to organise races with defective insurance.

ABAC Comments: You may be forgiven for thinking this is another shambles. Well it is. To introduce rule changes which affect insurance cover and not to inform clubs is to say the least unfortunate. England Athletics has been conspicuous by its low profile since it assumed Governance for the sport in England on 1st April 2006. With only 4 months left till its first anniversary EA will be hard pressed to spend the first tranche of monies bequeathed to it by Sport England. But then, on the other hand we haven’t seen the full salary bills for the new regions yet. And there is the new Athletics Services group. Now that offers some mouth watering prospects for soaking up surplus cash.

28th November 2006

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