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Club And Association Liability Insurance

Insure Your Club Or Association And Lower Your Risk

Most horse clubs and associations are built around the love of horses and to benefit the common interests of their members. You're not out to make a profit. If your club or association is a registered non-profit or you use the income to cover the costs of operation and to raise money for charities through membership dues, events, fundraisers and grants you need to insure it for liability.

What you'll discover in this report:

  • The level of risk for liability
  • Opportunity to insure multiple clubs or chapters under 1 policy
  • Common claims that people make against clubs and associations
  • How you can plan ahead
  • The coverage offered by a Commercial General Liability Policy
  • Other coverages members should carry
  • Other types of insurance you should consider
  • The types of clubs and associations that apply for insurance

What's The Level Of Risk Of Liability For A Club Or Association?

For a small club or association with minimal club activities, there's generally a low level of exposure for liability.

For example, your club, managed by a local board or directors, holds monthly member meetings, with social gatherings such as trail rides, picnics and banquets with a few shows or horse events per year with only some open to the general public with an income under $20,000 a year. Base pricing for this type of club would be based on the low level of exposure because most of the events are member-only events.

Higher risk clubs would hold higher premiums. If your club has a large membership with a high income with large public events (attendance and participation), you manage large fundraising activities with a high number of competitions requiring the registration of horses and the club owns property with rental capacity, you're at a higher risk.

Even with the best intentions to hold safe events, accidents occur, especially where large animals, like horses, are involved.

Can Multiple Clubs Or Chapters Be Insured Under One Policy?

Generally, it's not advisable for several chapters to share an insurance policy because you're also sharing the limit. One club is well protected with a maximum of $1,000,000 limit of liability, but 3 clubs, and therefore triple the exposure to liability, are not well-protected.

Most insurers will need proof of affiliations of the clubs with a maximum of 3 clubs. The directors and officers would need to attend at least one combined annual meeting with all events coordinated by a central manager, with a maximum of 7 events per club with less than $20,000 income. Also, each group would need to sign and follow the risk reduction standards.

What Are The Most Common Claim Incidents?

  • While on show grounds or watching an event, a spectator is injured. They could get too close to an animal, or risers collapse, or they may trip over an object and get hurt.
  • A horse manages to escape the rider, injure other riders and employees, parked vehicles or run into traffic and cause an accident. This could turn into a large claim that affects the club because of their management of the grounds and event. It also generally requires that the animal be put down.
  • While riding their horse in a club-sponsored event a non-member is injured.

How Can I Plan Ahead?

We know that you care about the horses and the people that come to your farm. There are steps to take to make sure that an accident never happens in the first place.

  1. Enforce barn rules.
    Look around and develop rules for your environment for both horses and people. Also write procedures. Then train every staff member to make sure they understand your rules and procedures.
  2. Plan for emergencies.
    Emergencies happen, but the better prepared you are, the better chance you have of providing the proper care to all the horses. If you're prepared you can minimize the severity of any accident.
  3. Develop semi-annual inspections of your property.
    By inspecting your premises for potential hazards, you can take care of them before an incident occurs.
  4. Prepare a written waiver and review Ontario's Occupiers' Liability Act.
    Anyone who participates in any horse activities on your premises needs to complete and sign the waiver. Make sure that you keep the signed forms on file and safely stored. The Occupiers' Liability Act states that the stable owner/operator owes a duty of care to the people who enter their premises. This assures that any property they bring on your premises with them is also reasonably safe. You are free to restrict, modify or exclude this duty of care through your written waiver.
  5. Follow Ontario's Horse Riding Safety Act.
    This legislation states that it's mandatory that anyone under the age of 18 years of age must wear a helmet that meets ASTM, BSI or European Safety Standards and hard-soled footwear with a heel of no less than 1.5 cm.
  6. Purchase an Equine Liability Insurance Policy.
    Protect you and your business with an insurance company that knows horses and your business. You want to make sure that any legal feels are covered, claim costs and settlements to ensure that in the case of an accident, your business doesn't suffer a financial loss.

What's Included In The Commercial General Liability Policy?

The policy protects the club and its membership body from any financial loss due to liability no matter what the purpose of your club or association. Whether your group owns property or not, whenever business functions are involved, the club or association is at risk of liability exposure. Third parties that participate in any event can make claims for bodily injury or property damages.

As a member, no matter what the level, you should be concerned for the club or association's financial protection. And the Club & Association policy provides bodily injury and property damage coverage for non-members. Many of these concerns can be dealt with by purchasing a commercial general liability policy which cover:

  • Medical expenses: You can be sure a claimant's low cost medical expenses are covered without a lot of questions about liability or responsibility. Payment can be triggered even if negligence isn't a factor.
  • Legal defense costs: You can save your club or association the financial burden of court costs if you're sued, whether the case has merit or not.
  • Claims or settlement costs: Without this policy the club or association could be held responsible for bodily injury and property damage claims.

Are There Other Coverages Our Members Should Carry?

If something happens to a member at a club-related activity they cannot hold the club or association liable. As members they are also the insured by the club. Most will have their own insurance policies involved in horse ownership. Some recommended coverages include:

  • Personal Liability Insurance: Most members will carry this as part of their homeowners or farmowners policy. This protects non-paid board members or a director volunteering on the association board who could otherwise be held responsible for making decisions related to the club or association.
  • Equine Liability Insurance: Any members who are horse owners should carry liability insurance on their horses for accidents caused by their personal horses. If not part of their homeowners or farmowners policy they should purchase a Horse Owner's Policy.

Are There Other Coverages The Club Or Association Should Consider?

There is some exposure for liability that is not covered by the Clubs & Associations policy. We recommend that you consider additional coverage to protect all members and the financial viability of the club or association:

  • Personal Accident Coverage: The purchase of a separate policy can provide additional coverage or medical expenses for a member injured during a club activity.
  • Worker Compensation and Employer's Liability Insurance: If the club or association employs any staff you'll require a separate policy. Even if no money is exchanged, but there is some kind of in-kind payment, it could qualify.
  • Equine Directors & Officers Liability: This is an additional coverage that we recommend clubs and associations purchase to protect their directors and officers.

What Type Of Clubs And Associations Apply For Club & Event Insurance?

Whether formed as a local or regional group or an association focused on promotion, competitions or showing horses, there are liability risks. Some of the types of groups include:

  • Riding/Saddle clubs
  • Driving clubs
  • Polo clubs
  • Hunt clubs
  • Pony clubs
  • 4-H clubs
  • Trail riding clubs
  • Breed associations
  • Horse show organizations
  • Horseback Orienteering clubs
  • Horse rescue associations

At Henry Equestrian Insurance Brokers Ltd, we understand horses and we make sure that we protect you and your club or association. Contact us today to learn more or click on Get a Free Quote for an obligation-free quote.