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Cost of eventing to rise as more membership options considered

British Eventing (BE) membership prices, entry and start fees, prize money and abandonment insurance are all set to increase next season – as the organisation looks at “revamping its membership offerings”.

BE has contacted members to tell them the cost of full, owner, syndicate and corporate memberships is to rise by £5 – the first increase since 2014.

Entry fees and the upper limit of start fees are to go up by 1.98%, with prize money going up by the same amount, while abandonment insurance is also to go up, “as a result of high levels of claims and a reduced number of underwriters willing to insure against the weather”.

Day pass and supporter membership, rider and horse day passes and horse season tickets will remain the same price, and there will no longer be a £15 fee for new horse registrations.

BE CEO Jude Matthews said BE and the British Event Organisers Association (BEOA), had agreed a formula for calculating any increase in entry fees, which was “designed to reflect the increasing costs an organiser incurs year on year”.

“BE had asked the BEOA to consider a freeze on entry fees for 2020, but the BEOA felt it was not possible to maintain the high standards of event that BE requires and support a freeze in entry fees,” she said.

“We are committed to providing the membership with top quality, safe, and fun competition opportunities, but we know members find the costs of competing high, and we are committed to looking at ways that this can be managed. We will continue to work with our organisers to ensure that we provide great sporting opportunity for members, whilst maintaining viability for organisers to run.”

Ms Matthews said that in the 10 years since abandonment insurance was launched, claims had totalled £5.4m, with an extra £633,000 this year.

She said members had asked about making the cover optional but if this were the case, premiums would increase as only events with higher risk of abandonment would insure.

“It would also become increasingly difficult to find an underwriter prepared to accept the risk of higher levels of abandonment,” she said.

“The BE team works hard to manage the insurance premiums, including monitoring levels of abandonment at each event, and structuring the calendar such that the events in the earlier and latter part of the year are more weather tolerant,” she added.

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“There is a strict process in place when events abandon, which helps to reassure our insurers and therefore manage the premiums levels.”

The insurance cover is rising by between £2 and £3 for BE80(T) to novice, £3.70 at intermediate level and £5.03 at advanced.

Ms Matthews said some members may believe the increase is to fund BE’s IT project but that this is not the case, this has been funded from reserves, and that BE has “worked hard to keep the increase to an absolute minimum”.

She added that BE is looking into revamping its membership options for 2021.

“It will be focussed on offering a range of memberships that are more targeted to each of our membership groups, and we will be working with our stakeholders on this exercise over the coming months,” she said.

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