A part of managing your club or society is identifying, assessing, and then mitigating risk. While we typically think of health and safety in this space, risk also extends to the likes of financial liability, reputation, or indemnity. Your executive should grapple with the risks specific to your group, to ensure those risks are apportioned to the appropriate controls (which might include insurance), helping you plan for and avoid potential losses and liabilities. Forward-thinking now could avoid huge troubles down the line!
Where to start...
We have noted some core information below. This is generic and needs to be considered against your group's risk profile and particular circumstances. For specific advice, please consult with an insurance broker.
Does OUSA provide us insurance?
No*. Clubs are separate legal entities and are responsible for their activities.*OUSA does hold a material damage insurance policy for the OUSA Clubs and Societies Centre and the OUSA Aquatic Centre. The standard excess for this policy is $5000. Due to the excess, this cover is most appropriate where clubs have equipment of individual or collective high value.
NB: it only covers gear stored within facilities (not gear removed from) and specifically excludes marine hulls and vehicles.* OUSA also holds separate vehicle insurance for our van, rego (KTN767). Excess ranges from $100 - $2000, pending conditions under the van hire agreement.
Should we get insurance?
Unfortunately, OUSA cannot make this decision. It is up to your club to assess your unique risks and decide if insurance is of value. What we do recommend is giving that decision fair consideration to support an informed choice. A helpful tool through this process is a risk register where you consider what could go wrong, what the consequences could be, and how your group would manage/react to those, perceived likelihoods, and various controls that could be deployed. In considering all the above, your group will establish it’s own “risk appetite”. Some clubs will take a cautious approach and insure, others will look at the odds (considering their robustness along the way) and perhaps “self-insure” (a rainy day fund) or ride the wave and go without.
Part of this due diligence may be to talk with an insurance broker and getting some professional advice.
What could go wrong? among other things:
- Injury or death to members (or public) caused by the actions or inactions of the club.
- Loss, damage, or theft of club gear (without insurance how difficult would it be for your club to replace?).
- Event cancellations due to extreme weather or unforeseen events (i.e. can you get deposits back? Have you spent money based on ticket sales that have now fallen through?).
- Travel plans disrupted (i.e. flight cancellations).
- Contractual disputes with venue providers (e.g. if you hold your club ball at a hotel).
- Property damage (i.e. if you hold a club party at a private residence and it gets out of hand).
What kinds of insurance could be useful?
- General liability: covers claims from third parties for thirdparty property damage or bodily injury arising out of the activities of the insured club.
- Statutory liability: coverage for fines payable and defense costs arising out of any act, error, or omission occurring in the course of club activity.
- Contents: covers unforeseen damage to assets owned by the club to replace or repair those assets.
- Motor covers sudden and accidental damage to motor vehicles owned* by the club. It also covers any legal liability arising from damaged caused by your motor vehicle to any third party property. *There are similar vehicles when you hire vehicles.
- Professional indemnity: designed to respond, predominantly to third party claims against an individual/s, alleging a breach of duty by the insured in the provision of their professional services.
- All subject to the terms and conditions of the individual policies.
What does it cost?
This varies from club to club. Insurance typically increases respective to coverage and risk. The higher the risk (greater likelihood and consequence) the higher the cost.
My Club is not a legal entity (Inc, Society or Charity), could I be held personally liable?
Yes, if you are not a recognized legal entity individual members may be held personally liable. As an example, when a club hires the OUSA van, the contract is made out to an individual member who accepts all responsibilities through that hire. This is a big deal and should not be skimmed over.
Ask yourself, Do you have confidence in your club operations and fellow members, in the space of risk?