Q: I am a riding instructor and have heard of something called custody and control insurance, which covers loss or damage to animals in my care. How is it different to third-party cover?
AS an instructor, you obviously need insurance cover to protect you in the course of your commercial activities. Anyone involved in business-related equestrian activities should have public liability insurance. This provides cover against claims by members of the public who have been injured, or have had their property damaged as a result of the insured’s actions, or the actions of animals in their care.
However, not all policies are the same, so choose one that is relevant to your line of work — for example, do you just teach, or do you school horses or carry out clipping services?
According to Jeremy Lawton of Shearwater Insurance Services, there are three aspects of
liability cover where horses are concerned.
“First is riding instructor liability, providing cover when an instructor is giving lessons to a rider. A claim could arise if the rider had an accident during a lesson for which the rider felt the instructor was liable,” he explained.
“Second, there is public liability, which provides cover if a horse the instructor is directly responsible for causes injury or damage to a third party, or their property. And third, there is care, custody and control, which covers loss or damage to an animal while in an individual’s care.”
David Ashby of Amlin Plus Sports Horse Insurers says you should ideally have two types of liability cover — public (or third-party) liability and care, custody and control.
“For example, if you are schooling a horse or giving a lesson, and the horse escapes and collides with a car, or injures a passer-by, you would be covered by third-party liability,” explained David.
Care, custody and control provides cover against a horse being killed or injured through the insured’s negligence (or that of any employee), while it is in their care.
Trainer and show jumper Tim Stockdale takes out this cover for his own peace of mind, explaining that in the course of his teaching, he has found pupils, as well as horses, can be unpredictable.
“A very useful part of this policy is that it will also meet the costs of your defence, if you are the subject of a claim for negligently injuring a horse,” David added.
“You could in theory incur a liability if either you sat on a horse for a client and it was injured, or if in the course of a lesson, it was alleged you caused the horse injuries. An example would be if you made the horse jump when it had previously refused, and it was injured while jumping.
“Furthermore, if, for example, you work as a holiday-relief groom while the horse’s owners are away, if it were held you had negligently injured a horse in your care, you could be liable for damages. Care, custody and control would cover you in this instance.
“You could consider a private health and accident policy — loss of earnings or temporary disablement cover would be advisable,” David said.
Amlin Plus Tel: 020 7423 0920 www.amlinplus.co.uk
Shearwater Insurance Tel: 08700 767 666 www.shearwater-insurance.co.uk
This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (15 May, ’08)