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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Public liability Insurance - can you imagine this exposure for Football clubs ?

Insurance is all about exposure, the probability of peril occurrence, requirement of an individual or entity … I never imagined of this particular insurance ! atleast in India.

Football is one of the most popular team sports worldwide.  In UK & Europe, there are so many famous clubs with World wide following ~ that would include : Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Juventus, Tottenham, Newcastle,  West Ham and more. 

Real Madris  remains the richest club in Europe, extending their unbeaten run to 11 years, according to Deloitte’s football money league. Their arch-rivals Barcelona have closed the gap significantly over the past year, leapfrogging Manchester United into second place after a hugely successful season in which they won their domestic league, a cup and a European trophy. English clubs increasingly dominate the ranking. Thanks to a lucrative broadcasting deal agreed in 2012, there are now nine Premier League clubs in the world’s top 20, and 17 in the top 30.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is the administrative and controlling body for European football. It consists of 54 member associations, each of which is responsible for governing football in their respective countries. Each UEFA member has its own football league system, except Liechtenstein. Clubs playing in each top-level league compete for the title as the country's club champions. Some clubs play in a national football league other than their own country's.

The game of football, is entertaining, engaging and can be a great workout : it lowers body fat and improves muscle tone, builds strength, flexibility and endurance. Other benefits of playing football include promoting teamwork and sharing. Football is fun and healthy but doesn't come without its risks. The greatest risks associated with playing football are ankle, knee, hamstring and head injuries. The clubs take out varied insurance coverages – from player insurance, to team insurance and coaching insurance too.  Some Insurers offer a comprehensive range of football personal accident insurance providing cash benefits for sports injuries such as breaks and dislocations, as well as income protection and disablement cover. Cover is also available for accidental injury whilst travelling to and from a scheduled match, training session or competition or whilst on an organised tour. Football Insurance for kids over 8 years of age is also available.

Such insurances cover semi-professional and professional football players – then there is Public Liability Insurance.  Public Liability Insurance for football clubs and associations, offer protection against injury to third parties or their property. There are also additional options to protect against Employers' Liability, and  for event volunteers.  There is need for Public liability as the  football club and its members have a duty of care to avoid causing injury to members of the public or damage to their property through the negligent act of the club and/or its members. Public Liability Insurance provides protection for the insured  club should it be proven negligent or failed to take ‘reasonable care’ to prevent injury to a member of the Public or damage to third party property and as such the club be held legally liable. For a claim to be upheld the third party has to prove that the club or its members have been negligent in their duty of care.

There is option  to include member of the club  to member liability which means that any registered member of the insured club or voluntary worker, whilst acting in connection with club activities and whilst conforming to club rules and by-laws are covered should the member not be entitled to indemnity under any other policy of insurance. Though such insurances cover acts of the players, they however exclude player to player or ‘participant to participant’ incidents that occur during play.

Many football clubs in the UK have liability insurance – but this news item in the Guardian.co.uk is different.  It is insurance taken by the club that covers them for claims from victims of child sex abuse, which has resulted in payouts. As the scandal continues to engulf the sport, insurers have pledged to improve the compensation process.

Police reported on Thursday that 350 people have now come forward to report attacks and, as the scope of inquiries grows, the role of insurance companies has come under the spotlight. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “Recent revelations regarding abuse in football are very distressing and at the heart of it are the victims and survivors who have been abused. “The insurance industry is fully engaged with the current independent inquiry and has submitted constructive suggestions about how the civil justice compensation process could be improved.”

Patrick Collinson, the editor of Guardian Money, notes that major clubs take out combined employers’ and public liability policies, which collectively covers a huge range of eventualities, including allegations of sexual assault. He says: “The public liability part covers the club for claims when, say, a fan is hurt in the stadium. The employers’ element covers claims relating to members of staff. One major insurer said there were circumstances, such as the allegations of sexual assault, in which claims could possibly be made against the employer’s liability, and a payment be made, and such a payment could be subject to a non-disclosure agreement.”

Last week,  it emerged that Chelsea sanctioned a compensation payment at boardroom level to a former youth team player who approached the club to complain about abuse at the hands of the club’s former chief scout, Eddie Heath, who worked at the club between 1968 and 1979. Heath died in the late 1980s. The compensation was offered without an acceptance of liability.  Collinson added: “Legally speaking, any employer, such as a football club, can be held liable for personal injuries inflicted by a member of their staff, where the employee’s actions have been carried out during the course of their employment. “Ultimately, if the employer is held to be liable, then the victim can make a personal injury claim which will then be covered by the club’s employer’s liability insurance.”

The ABI statement continued: “Compensation paid by an organisation to a victim could be covered by liability insurance. As part of the settlement process, confidentiality clauses are sometimes requested by victims or the organisation insured. They are not part of the insurance contract and we are not aware of any insurers who currently request them.”

It certainly is a different World out there ~ there perhaps is no such exposure to Cricket clubs of India and certainly there is no similar insurance cover in India, as of now.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Dec 2016.


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