ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN !
James Jennings was accidentally
struck on head in a freak accident whilst
out playing golf with a very responsible
professional tutor ! James is a Black Belt
Tae Kwon Do sportsman and a keen abseiler
and caver - but he has had more accidents
( statistically ) on the putting green !
PROBABILITIES & LIABILITIES....
People can often have very odd perceptions about risk and probabilities of risk.
Did you know that 1,700 pedestrians are tragically killed every year after
being hit by vehicles on Europe's roads ? (Source : BBC Look North / BRAKE ).
In comparison, only a handful of people are hurt in, say, skiing, climbing or
caving incidents, and serious injuries & deaths during outdoor sports under
NGB qualified supervision in the UK are nowadays extremely rare. Perhaps their
rarity means stories hit the front news pages on those rare occasions when
incidents do happen. Sadly, liability insurance rates do not in any sense reflect
the big differences in the actual statistics and the "perceived " risks when comparing,
say, road traffic incidents and very rare incidents during what the world perceives
to be "risky" sounding activities such as potholing. You're probably many times
safer down a cave than, say, driving over the potholes on the M25 or M1 at high
speed ! This is a paradox.
The author feels that if the UK can progress away from confrontations in court
to stake claims for liability and damages - and trend towards common sense
based settlements for the costs of treatment - even employer liability premiums
may drop considerably as the overall costs of obtaining fair ( as opposed to greedy)
compensation and costs for injuries ( including road accidents ) are reduced
accordingly. Time will tell if the country can get away from the culture of having
to blame someone (anyone !) for injuries at work, etc. arising from accidents on a
"no win, no fee basis". The rise of such claims is very worrying and is certainly
driving the costs of liability cover through the roof.
Tragically, on average in the UK every single day approx 10 people die and dozens
more are injured on Britain's roads. By comparison accidents are extremely rare in the
Great Outdoors but it doesn't stop the press and media making lots of noise about safety
on those very, very rare occasions when adults or youngsters, sadly, have accidents
horse riding, walking or climbing, gliding, etc. Many of those few incidents reported
in the media from time to time involve schools or youth groups who are NOT being led
by AALA licensed professional tutors and instructors...but the insurance industry has
slapped catastrophically high increases on even the safest centres, such as Rock Lea,
in the past 24 months. The huge extra costs involved mean that insurance costs are now
one of our company's biggest operating cost. We believe this is a very unfair state of affairs
and we hope that people in the insurance industry will help people such as Marcus
Bailey at AALA can compile a meaningful set of solid and robust evidence to support
Marcus's assertion that activities at high quality AALA licensed centres are much safer than
some people in the tabloid media may like us to believe.
We are also very concerned that because of very vociferous and unfounded comments
by the media many teachers' unions are now suggesting it is unwise or dangerous for
teachers to take youngsters out on field excursions and field trips. This is a really sad
and regrettable development arising from the new blame culture which seems to be
prevalent in the UK these days. On the one hand we have politicians telling us that the
UK's kids and adults need to get out trying new spots and getting fitter - and on the other
hand we have huge increased costs in outdoor insurance cover and an almost paranoid
approach by some leaders of some teaching unions about safety on school and college
trips. Some corporate training clients are also becoming quite paranoid about outdoor
Clients in any doubt should phone us to discuss why our chartered underwriters
feel that £5 million cover for claims arising is far superior to £5 million cover for
claims occurring and notifed in any single year - which is the much cheaper form
of cover offered by many freelance staff operating in this region at the present
time - and which is often considered by chartered underwriters to be very risky
and fraught with danger if, say, a freelancers stops trading and /or has a lapse
in their insurace at any time in the next 6 years in which a claim might arise and
come to light. For example, did you know that if you have an accident during the
the last days of some freelancers' annual insurance period and failed to report it
straight away to the underwriters - there may be no insurance in place if the
instructor fails to take out a new policy for the next 12 months with the same
insurance company ? Many professional underwriters have shared grave concerns
about the cheapness and illusionary character of such cover offered by many one
man bands. One firm of insurers in particular which tends to offer very cheap
cover for self employed climbers is often singled out as being instrumental in
offering "insurance" which doesn't really offer nearly as much protection as the
innocent client might imagine when they are told they are "insured".
It is a legal requirement that all UK employers should have in place cover
to protect customers from the consequences of mistakes or errors
caused by their employees that affect customers and felow workers, etc.
However, did you know that some loose associations of instructors
( friends of friends - working as teams to run contracts ) might have no
proper employers liability in place whatsoever - even though this is illegal
if a single person or company is being paid by another one to run, say a
varied multi-day event involving several tutors.
Again, "checking out the employers liability cover" it is not always the first
issue clients will ask of the people who they are considering to use as
outdoor trainers, but you could find yourselves uninsured if you have a
problem whilst using a cheaper provider who is effectively employing his
"pals" but with no employers liability cover in effect.
It is the need to have c. £10 Million cover in place for employers liability
cover that so often makes the insurance premiums for a place like Rock Lea
so expensive. Fortunately there are now closed schemes coming into the
market place which offer members of certain professional institutions and
organisation fairer rates for proving such cover for their members. The new
scheme offered by Jardine Lloyd Thompson for IOL members is a good example.
This still helps explain why the centres such as Rock Lea which put in place the
best and mosty robust insurance available are sometimes a lot more expensive
to hire than, say, one man bands and loose freelance fellowships. We are hoping
to publish more on this shortly in our knowledge base an article on these fears
written by a leading liability insurance expert. He agrees it is very unfair for centres
like our with an excellent safety record to be paying insurance premiums for proper
insurance that is ten or twenty times more expensive than the cover being offered by
some of our competitors. Of course, insurance is one of those things many people
don't really worry about or care about until it is ( often ) too late ! Hindsight, is always,
of course, a very wonderful thing - especially when you realise the total cost of an event
with a freelancer with interesting insurance might be less than the actual cost price of
being insured with a professional organisation with "claims arising" cover in place
as recommended by their professional insurance experts.
Having said all of that, don't be put off, hour for hour, it's probably much, much
safer doing outdoor pursuits than, say, driving along a busy motorway !
Copies of all our company's policy certificates are available to all our
bone fide clients for inspection. Please call 01433-650345 for details.