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Following an American Football game between the Midland Storm and the Leigh Miners in the 8GL, there has been a lot of talk from within the community as to whether or not the game should have gone ahead or even if it was insured. Whether its the current social distancing measures or a conversation about insurance there has been a lot of questions raised.

In this instance, I am qualified to look at whether the 8GL game was insured and will breakdown my thoughts in this piece.

Firstly, I want to start with the legality of insurance. In short, there are only a few legal requirements for insurance within the UK. The most common ones are Motor Insurance and Employers Liability Insurance.  Insurances like Life Insurance for a mortgage are not legally required, but contractually. It is important to remember that with most forms of insurance, house and contents insurance, travel insurance, for example, we make calculated moral decisions every day to whether we feel we need insurance. These moral decisions may affect one person or one family, but they usually do not.

I spoke to Alex from the Midland Storm and he sent me over a copy of their insurance schedule.

Was the 8GL game insured?

On the face of things, it appears that the Midland Storm did, in fact, have insurance for their game against Leigh, but I am going to take a closer look into this.  It clearly states that the insured is the Midland Storm and below that the team sport is American Football. The number of teams is one, which again is fine.

The start of this policy was 16th September which brings the questions of whether they had insurance for the past year, or whether this was bought on a whim, following the news last week of the tragic death of Jack Welding. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that if they did have a policy prior to this one, it would not be mentioned in this document, and therefore, we just do not know. If they did not have insurance before the 16th its worth remembering that they were not, in fact, breaking the law just maybe what was expected by them. The territorial limit is in the UK, meaning they are insured to play American Football anywhere within the UK.

Moving to the second section of the schedule, the policy goes into detail of what the club has cover for. Public Liability covers the club for any injury or damage to any third party or third-party property that they are legally liable for. The team has a cover for £1 million, which is the lowest limit you can get for public liability, and the schedule clearly states that this cover is in place for the sport mentioned above with as discussed is American Football. There are restrictions to this cover in the policy wording, but we will get into this later.

Professional Indemnity covers the coaches for their advice and specification that causes a third-party financial loss. Again, they have cover for £1 million. This policy will also have exclusions applicable to it.

The next section is the Personal Accident section and the important section that most people will be interested in. This covers the players who injured themselves whilst playing for the Midland Storm. This section of insurance is usually the most claimed part of the policy and as such is always the most expensive. It is no surprise that the club has decided to take out a low level of personal accident insurance (for me not worth the paper it’s written on), however, in comparison to BAFA’s own Personal Accident insurance, both are as terrible as each other. My advice at this point to anyone playing American Football in the UK is to make sure you have your own PA insurance.

Loss of income is not covered, however again, players should be looking to take their own insurance out if this is important to them.

Sports Equipment is exactly as its sounds and they have cover up to £1,000.

It appears the Midland Storm does not employ anyone and as such, they do not require Employers Liability.

Alex also found me out the Insurance Product Information Document, which insurance companies must send out when the offer a quotation to clients. This document gives a brief overview of what is covered and what is not. This document can be found here

In the documents, there is a clear definition of what is not covered in the policy.

What is not insured?

  • Any claims not arising out of Your participation in the sports insured
  • Any property belonging to You or in Your care, custody or control, but this exclusion does not apply to:

Premises (including the contents thereof) and other property temporarily occupied by You for The purpose of the sport specified in the insurance schedule

  • Loss or theft of any Sports Equipment left unattended unless the loss or theft shows evidence of forced entry/exit to or from any premises, changing room or any securely locked locker or other similar place of storage
  • Any claim for Sports Equipment where evidence of ownership cannot be provided

This is a very basic overview of that is and is not covered and for a more detailed view, I will have to look at the policy wording which also can be found here.

Having looked through the policy wording, and I will not go through it all here there are certain questions that need to be asked.

Firstly, if we investigate the definitions section. This is used to define specific words in more detail and defined words are usually highlighted bold. The first definition that caught my eye was.

Coach(es) A coach, instructor or referee who is accredited and Qualified in accordance with the requirements of Sport or activity specified in the Insurance Schedule

This led me to look at the definition of Qualified:

Qualified You have appropriate qualifications, registration, accreditation or authorisation from the governing body of the Sport(s) instructed unless We have agreed otherwise.

We know the 8GL are not governed by BAFA and this would suggest that there is, in fact, no cover. Unless they have agreed with insurers beforehand and there are no signs they did, it appears to me that there is no cover for their coaches and their Professional Indemnity.

I then continued to read the Policy Wording and got to what is not an insurer under the Public Liability section.

Any Personal Injury caused, or contributed to, by any participant to any other participant whilst participating in a match or practice of any high impact Sports including Rugby Union, Rugby League, Association Football, Gaelic Football, Gridiron, Australian Rules Football, Boxing, Martial Arts and all other contact Sports where the rules permit physical contact by undertaking tackles, scrums, mauls or throws between players or participants. Unless ‘Participant to Participant Liability’ is showing on Your Insurance Schedule and the appropriate premium is paid

The participant to participant section would be mentioned on the schedule as per the above wording and this is nowhere to be found. This suggests that there is no cover for injury caused to another player. Remembering that Public Liability covers injury to the third party, should a member of the other team prove they were injured on purpose, the club as an entity would not be covered under this policy.

Finally, I looked through the Personal Accident insurance. We have already discussed that this section of the policy, is not very good and from reading the wording there is cover for injury to their own player. However, if a coach were injured during the game, he would not be covered if we look at the definition of Coaches.

Having read through the full insurance documents I have had sent and found online, was the 8GL game insured to go ahead? Both yes and no, unfortunately. Unless the teams can prove the coaches are registered and had the relevant qualifications under the national governing body, then there appears to be no cover for the coaches. However, if a player were injured whilst playing it appears they would have been covered albeit minimal. Of course, there is the question on whether insurers would pay the claim as the players are not registered to the NGB, but having looked through the documents and got a test quote online, at no point does it say the players need to be.

On a personal note, the Midland Storm have tried to do the right thing and, in some ways, have done what most teams would have done in their situation. However, the cover they had in place was very minimal. Unfortunately, we live in a world where insurance companies like to offer these cheap policies fully understanding that the purchasers won’t read the full documentation and as such the Storm have fell foul of this.

The Midland Storm have now stepped away from the 8GL League!

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