‘Think the unthinkable’: concerns raised over uninsured coaches

  • The topic of coach insurance has come under discussion, and how this can affect venues and riders where a coach is operating without it.

    Solicitor Hannah Bradley of the Equine Law Firm told H&H that although it is not a legal requirement for a coach to have insurance, many choose to do so, and she recommends riders check with a coach whether they are insured. Public liability insurance provides cover for a coach in the event of a claim where their actions have caused injury to a third party or damage to their property .

    Ms Bradley added that it is also important to check that the policy is held with a reputable insurer, the sum insured is “sufficient” and the coach is operating within the terms of the policy.

    “A professional may hold insurance up to a cap of £1m – that may seem like a lot of money, but if a rider suffers from catastrophic or life-changing injuries, and they will require care and support on a long-term basis, that may not be sufficient,” she said.

    “If a coach has insurance to teach only certain types of riding, and they breach that term, their insurance will be invalid. IIt is also important to note an insurance policy will only provide coverage if the trainer, and their actions have caused the loss.”

    Ms Bradley said in “most circumstances” there is no obligation for a venue to check a visiting coach’s insurance, but added that they may do this as good practice, or their insurance policy may require them to do so. And in the event of an accident, liability depends on a number of circumstances, including what caused it and who the rider has a relationship with. If a rider has booked a clinic directly with a venue they will have a “contractual relationship” with the venue instead of the coach, and it may be possible for them to bring a claim against a venue for any financial loss, if the venue has failed to supply their services with reasonable care and skill. What constitutes reasonable care and skill depends on individual circumstances.

    An SEIB Insurance Brokers spokesman told H&H SEIB “strongly recommends” yard owners request proof of public liability insurance from any coach teaching at their venue. This can be a coach providing their insurance certificate, which should be readily available from insurers and outlines the coach’s cover, and SEIB recommends checking the limit of indemnity and business description.

    “If the coach booked the venue, we would expect the yard owner to request proof of insurance as a key part of the booking process,” said the spokesman.

    “It is possible that if the rider booked the venue, they may assume that the visiting coach will be covered by the yard’s insurance. This further underlines why yard owners need to maintain tight control of all those coming and going at their business premises.”

    BHSI performance coach Jen Morris told H&H she believes all coaches should hold insurance, and riders and venues should feel comfortable asking the coach if they are insured.

    “Insurance provides security for the coach, and for the client. We are all trying to enhance best practice, and injuries can happen. As a coach, being asked to see insurance details should be normal, but it isn’t,” she said.

    “It would be helpful for coaches to display their insurance certificates on their social media pages or websites so people get used to seeing this. If everyone shows it, then it might make people more comfortable asking if this is in place, when it’s not on display.”

    British Horse Society (BHS) director of education Tracy Casstles said the society “strongly advises” coaches have appropriate insurance – and that riders use insured coaches.

    “Your personal assets could be at risk if you are legally liable for an accident to a third party, as compensation claims and associated legal costs can sometimes run into millions. No one wants to think about the unthinkable, but you need a plan – and cover – in place,” she said.

    “When learning to ride or looking to improve your riding skills, choosing a BHS-accredited professional coach who has recognised qualifications, is first-aid trained, meets safeguarding requirements and is fully insured will give peace of mind you are in the safest of hands.”

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